By Satyaki Chakraborty
The continuing joint demonstrations by the anti-Right parties of Germany in major cities of the country during the week end for the last few months have made its impact on the German political mood as the latest opinion poll has put the voting intention figure for the far right party AFD at around 20 per cent, the lowest in the last six months.
Last Saturday, the demonstrations were massive in Berlin before the Bundestag with the participation of more than 150,000 people while other cities like Hanover, Freiburg witnessed equally militant demonstrations organized by the trade unions, the German Social Democratic Party, the leftwing parties de Linke and the newly set up left party BSW. German chancellor Olaf Scholz praised the protests writing in the social platform X former Twitter that the presence of large number of citizens in the protests ‘ is a strong sign for democracy and our constitution’.
The pro-democracy demonstrations started three weeks ago after investigative journalists’ group Correctiv revealed that right-wing extremists had recently met to discuss deporting millions of immigrants, including some with German citizenship. Some member of AFD were present at the meeting . Since AFD is an important party represented in Parliament, its participation and support for a racial demand on the lines of the earlier Nazi days in Germany led to unprecedented protests by the common German people.
The political situation in Germany has been turning in favour of the far right in the last months of 2023 with the popularity of the ruling Social Democratic Party declining and the vote intention figure of the right wing conservatives and the far right AFD increasing. There are apprehensions that the conservatives along with far right AFD will sweep the European Parliament elections in June this year and they will also do well in September polls to the three states in eastern part of Germany dominated by the SPD and the leftwing de Linke.
Presently, out of the 736 seats in German parliament Bundestag, the SPD has got 207 seats, followed by conservatives CDU 197, the Green Alliance 118, the FDP 92, the far right AFD 78 and the others including de Linke 44. The de Linke has 28 seats out of which the newly set up BSW has 10 members. So effectively the parent party has 18 seats in the current Bundestag. But the de Linke’ popularity has dipped in the recent months. After the split, the opinion poll put de Like’s voting intention figure at 3 per cent while it was 14 per cent for the new Left party BSW.
The last German national elections were held in September 2021, so the next national elections are due in September 2025. Chancellor Olaf Scholz is running the coalition government in alliance with the Greens and the FDP. The opinion polls have put SDP at around 15 per cent which is a bad signal for the ruling coalition in view of the coming elections to both European Parliament in June and the regional elections later this year.
In the Saturday demonstrations, the newly set up left party BSW took part in a big way and the party focused its campaign on the working class support base of AFD also. The BSW leaders say that the AFD has been able to take away the lowly paid workers to its far right fold because the de Linke lost its connect with those workers .According to BSW leaders, German workers have to be taken away from the clutches of AFD and by weakening AFD base only, the shift to the right can be halted.
Though the far-right AFD has posed as a peace party, BSW leaders say that. AFD is for drone wars and opposed to ceasefire in Gaza. They are in favour of military interventions abroad. They are in favour of NATO membership, and even the requirement to spend 2 per cent of GDP on the military. The foreign policy of the AFD and the other parties is actually almost the same, BSW points out.
Political observers are closely monitoring the activities of BSW these days. There are some hopes that the march of far right might be halted if the anti right forces work in close cooperation to halt the expansion of AFD. The unity shown in the anti- far right demonstrations in the last few weeks has to be taken forward to get electoral benefits in the EU parliament elections in June this year. (IPA Service)