German election: Anti-euro party poised to enter parliament
The Alternative fur Deutschland, a party borne out of anger over the eurozone crisis, hovers on the brink of an electoral breakthrough, writes Jeevan Vasagar
....On Sunday, AfD (Alternative für Deutschland), a party borne out of anger over the eurozone crisis, hovers on the brink of an electoral breakthrough.
A poll published on Thursday gave the party a 5 per cent share of the national vote – the threshold needed to win seats in the Bundestag. While most other polls have put them at just slightly below that level, there can be no question that the party's rise has rattled the German political mainstream.
Alternative für Deutschland, which was only founded this year, is against the single currency, although it insists it is not anti-European Union, and its rise has drawn comparisons with that of the United Kingdom Independence Party (Ukip) in Britain.
AfD argues that the euro threatens the EU's integration project because it impoverishes some countries with uncompetitive economies, while burdening others with the cost of bailouts and austerity measures. Instead, it says the euro should ultimately be dissolved, with countries able to leave the eurozone to establish their own currencies.
The party primarily draws its support from the fear that the financial burden of successive bailouts will ultimately prove too high for the German taxpayer.
At its first convention in April, Mr Lucke – a boyish-looking economist from Hamburg – told the crowd: "Does anyone believe that the people accepted the idea of paying for mismanagement in other euro-countries with hundreds of billions of euros?"
The chief target of Mr Lucke's rhetoric has not been ordinary Greeks or Spaniards but "American hedge funds, French banks, British insurance firms."
Ordinary people in Cyprus and Greece don't benefit from German taxpayers' money, he told supporters. "They just get a sniff of it – as if you could be satisfied by the aroma of a roast. The roast itself goes to the big financial investors."....
Nicolaus Heinen, an analyst for Deutsche Bank, describes the AfD as the "great unknown" of Germany's elections. Pollsters have indicated that their true level of its support may be higher than predicted, as AfD supporters may regard polling organisations as part of a distrusted establishment.
"AfD supporters are highly active in social media and street campaigning," Dr Heinen said. "We should not underestimate the potential of AfD voters to mobilise their families and circle of friends – that potential cannot be covered by opinion polls. That is particularly true if general turnout is average."....