For many years, it seemed as if the German party system was immune to the temptations of right-wing populist parties. This picture changed with the emergence of the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD). With its initial anti-European, and later strongly anti-Islamic rhetoric, the AfD has become the most successful emerging party in Germany. Just a few months after its foundation in 2013, the AfD received nearly 5% of the votes in the Federal Election and failed to enter the German Bundestag by only a few thousand votes. Today, the AfD is represented in ten out of sixteen German state parliaments, entered the European Parliament and gained several seats in both regional and local elections.
This talk will discuss how the emergence and establishment of the AfD is likely to alter Germany’s party system. Various resources (candidate surveys, election data and party manifestos) are analyzed to shed some light on the AfD’s ideological positioning, its political personnel, and the unequal regional distribution of its electoral success. The talk will conclude with a brief outlook toward the upcoming German Federal Election in 2017 and how a permanent extension of the party system to the extreme right-hand side of the ideological spectrum will narrow the scope for the formation of future government coalitions.
Markus Tepe is a professor of Political Science (Political System of Germany) at the University of Oldenburg. He holds a doctoral degree from the Free University of Berlin (FU Berlin) and an MA in Political Science, Public Law and Economic Policy from the University of Münster. His research centers on public policies, political economy, and laboratory experiments in social science research. Currently, he is conducting a research project on need-based justice and redistribution (FOR2104) funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). Markus is a Visiting Scholar at The Europe Center for 2016-2017.