Anti-Euro party may block Germany’s Merkel from victory

Alternative for Deutschland

The biggest threat to German chancellor Angela Merkel’s winning next Sunday’s elections may be a new anti-Euro party called Alternative For Deutschland.

The latest INSA poll for the Bild newspaper chain shows the new party hitting the 5 percent percent threshold it needs to enter Germany’s parliament. Merkel’s coalition partner, the Free Democrats, are hovering just above the 5 percent threshold. Should the Alternative enter parliament and the Free Democrats be thrown out of parliament, Merkel may be forced to enter a grand coalition with the left-wing Social Democrats.

In last Sunday’s Bavarian local elections, the Free Democrats plunged to only 3 percent and were forced out of Bavaria’s parliament. In the same election, a local anti-euro party similar to the Alternative won 9 percent of the vote.

The average of the seven major polls released over the last week shows the Alternative scoring just under 4 percent. But the party could benefit from the large number of undecided voters and the fact that, as pollsters privately admit, some voters are reluctant to admit they back a party that questions the euro, even though it wants Germany to remain in the European Union. Far from draining conservative votes from Merkel, the Alternative is picking up votes from the disaffected.

“The interesting thing is that 41 percent of AfD voters either voted for the ‘other parties’ category or not at all in 2009,” INSA chief Hermann Binkert told Reuters.

The INSA poll shows the combined total for Merkel’s Christian Democrats and the Free Democrats at 44 percent — one point below the total for the three leading left-wing parties — though it’s unlikely the hardline Left party could join with the others to form a government.

The INSA poll for Bild released on Thursday put Merkel’s conservatives on 38 percent and the FDP on 6 percent, giving a combined total of 44 percent — one percentage point lower than the total for the three left-of-center parties.

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