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Welfens, P.J.J.: After Eastern German State Elections 2019: Germany Facing Serious Politico-Economic Problems

Welfens, P.J.J.: After Eastern German State Elections 2019: Germany Facing Serious Politico-Economic Problems

 

JEL classification: D63, D72, D74, D78

Key words: State Elections, Eastern Germany, German Unification, Populism, AfD, Inequality, Fears

 

Summary

The state elections in the former East German states of Brandenburg, Saxony and Thuringia stand for a rise of the right-wing Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) [Alternative for Germany], a relatively new populist party which was created in 2013. This party has won seats in all state parliaments and also has achieved a considerable voting share in the European Parliament elections in 2019 and the federal German Parliament in 2017; the voting shares obtained in the state elections of Brandenburg and Saxony were close to 25% and thus force the traditionally leading parties CDU (Christian Democrats) and SPD (Social Democrats) to form broader coalitions that take on board at least a third party. There are apparent reasons for the expansion of the AfD; the makeup of the current German government – a grand coalition of center right (CDU) and center left (SPD) – and its weak policy play a strong role in this. Germany’s economic system is facing major new adjustment problems and people, at least in eastern Germany, continue to face considerable personal and other fears. The situation in 2019 has improved, however, in western Germany. Major policy initiatives and reforms are needed to successfully cope with the challenges in Germany and the EU, respectively.

 

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