After Shocking Election Victory, Far-Right German Party Reassures Jews

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Despite securing another four years as the country's leader, her party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), lost a considerable amount of power-it won 32.9 percent, down from 41.5 percent since the last election in 2013. Indeed, Merkel is counting on the Greens as well as the economically liberal Free Democratic Party (Act's equivalent) to form her next coalition.

The unprecedented victory of the AfD and its presence in the German parliament will undoubtedly have important implications.

Pointing to the big drop in support for Merkel's Christian Democrats, Boehnke argued that the chancellor was both the "winner and the loser" of the election.

Sunday's national result was not a complete surprise: The AfD has won seats in 13 of Germany's 16 state legislatures, including a 24.3 per cent share of the vote in the eastern region of Saxony Anhalt past year.

Alice Weidel, one of the AfD's top candidates, said she did not expect other lawmakers to quit the party.

And yes, the country's proportional-representation electoral system means that a right-wing, anti-immigration party that trades in chilling racist and nationalistic rhetoric, and which only got 12.6 per cent of the vote, will hold 94 seats in the Bundestag, the country's 709-seat parliament.

Whatever impact that decision may have, a debate is expected to continue on migration in Germany where more than a million refugees arrived since 2015 and social tensions remain despite an improving economy.

"Some of the positions it has espoused during the election campaign display alarming levels of intolerance not seen in Germany for many decades and which are, of course, of great concerns to German and European Jews".

Petry's husband, Marcus Pretzell, the party leader in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia and a regional lawmaker there, added that he is also leaving AfD. The Social-Democratic Party was second with 20.5% of the votes.

The CSU saw its vote share tumble by 10% on Sunday, with losses directed mostly to the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. The SPD's collapse is consistent with a deep crisis that has engulfed many of Europe's social democratic parties in recent elections from the Netherlands to France. Building a coalition would now take some months.

In a country that prides itself on political stability, and tends to shy away from experiments, the implications, be they positive or negative, of a very different parliament and government to Germany's most recent past are hard to predict.

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