Internet platform for studying Xenophobia, Radicalism and Problems of Intercultural communication.

Radical Right-Wing Political Parties and Groups

Radical Right-Wing Political Parties and Groups A demonstration organized by the anti-migrant movement PEGIDA in Dresden, January 2015.

Radical parties and groups are the catalyst for xenophobic attitudes in society, capable of directing them into the mainstream turning into protest activity up to violent hate crimes. They can exist only in conditions of imposing various fears over "foreign influence" and the threat to national identity.

Recent poll by ARD Deutschlandtrend Voter revealed that support for Merkel’s government dropped from 57 percent in July 2015 to 38 percent on February 2016. According to Emnid survey the popular support for the euro-sceptic Alternative for Germany have surged from 1 percent to 10 percent.

An opinion poll by German newsmagazine Stern also illustratesgrowing support for parties and movements tapping into voter fears that mainstream politicians are too soft on immigration. The AfD party, which is closely affiliated to PEGIDA is viewed as a positive development in Germany by half of the public. Twenty-nine percent of people thought the marches by the group PEGIDA were justified because of the degree of influence that Islam was having on life in Germany. The poll found that 71 percent of AfD supporters felt the rallies were justified. While two thirds of those polled believed the idea of an 'Islamization' of Germany was exaggerated, many Germans are concerned about the numbers of asylum seekers fleeing countries such as Syria. Furthermore, it was found that one in eight Germans would join a march against "Islamization" if one were held in their hometown. About two thirds of Germans asked by the polling group Forsa felt that the threat that "Islamization" posed within Germany was being exaggerated by PEGIDA.

The National Democratic Party of Germany (Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands, NPD), is a far-right electoral party in Germany. NPD, which descended from the German Reich Party (Deutsche Reichspartei, DRP), was founded in 1964. In January 2011, it merged with the nationalist German People’s Union (Deutsche Volksunion). In 2014, the party representative Udo Voigt won a seat in the European Parliament. The NPD currently has five seats in the northern federal state of Mecklenburg West Pomerania – and is entitled to campaign subsidies from the federal government. The attempts to ban the party, which is infamous for neo-Nazi violence and National Socialist ideology, has been under way for years. The latest ban attempt was triggered by the arson attack against a planned refugee house in Tröglitz in April 2015.

PEGIDA formed branches in various European countries. 29% of Germans believe that marches and other mass actions conducted by PEGIDA are absolutely justified because Islam has a significant impact on life in the country, and the government fails to adequately react to it. On July 7, 2015, Deutsche Welle reported on the intentions of this organisation to create a political party on the eve of the general elections in 2017. However, with the growing influence of the AfG party, this organization practically lost its supporters, and turned into a marginal right-wing radical organization.

Residents of East Germany support right-wing radicals more than residents of West Germany. This is confirmed by a research commissioned by the Saxony land government, submitted in November 2017. 56% of respondents agreed with the thesis that "because of the arrival of many foreigners, Germany is exposed to someone else's influence in a dangerous amount." This is 2% less than in 2016. At the same time, the number of refugees arriving in Saxony has decreased many times. 62% (-7%) said that "the majority of Muslims living in Germany do not recognize our values." 38% demanded a ban on the entry of Muslims into Germany (-1%). Significantly increased support for the statement "Our country today needs a strong and active promotion of German interests in relation to foreign countries" (62%, + 9%). 68% of respondents believe that Germany now needs a "strong hand" (+ 6%). 41% support the words "Now Germany needs ONE strong party that expresses the interests of the commonality of the whole people (-21%, which researchers explain by the appearance of the word "ONE"). [1]

In 2017 the parliamentary elections had been in Germany. The main event of the year, the elections to the German Bundestag, dominated in the public life of the country. For the second time in the history of united Germany, a right-populist party took part in the pre-election race, which had real chances to overcome the five percent barrier. In the elections, the Alternative for Germany (AfG) - Alternative für Deutschland - confidently went to the German parliament, gaining the support of 12.6% of voters, and created the third largest faction (94 deputies) in the new, 19th Bundestag.

The situation in the legislative branch of the German power became fundamentally different. AfG, which includes both populist and right-wing radical movements, received a parliamentary rostrum and new opportunities for influence in domestic and foreign policy. Also, the "Alternative" in 2017 further expanded its representation in the Landtads of Germany, although its success was not so impressive as in 2016.

Politicians from AfG entered the land parliaments of two large, economically and politically significant lands, Lower Saxony and North Rhein-Westphalia, as well as the Schleswig-Holstein Landtag. Thus, following the results of 2017, the right-wing AfG party was represented both in the European Parliament (the result of 2014 in Germany: 7.1%) in the Bundestag, and in 14 of the 16 Landtags. AdG finally became part of the German political establishment and the main right-wing party of the country.

AfG conducted an active and aggressive campaign in the elections to the Bundestag. The theme of the reception of refugees, their "propensity to commit offenses", "loss of German identity", "inability" of the incumbent government and the political class to "defend Germany" remained the central. The party leadership tried to win the trust of minorities. In particular, the platform "Homosexuals in AdG" and "Russian Germans for AfG" worked within the party. Particular attention was paid to Russian-speaking voters, as well as to German citizens born in Poland and the countries of the former Yugoslavia.

Immediately after the passage to the Bundestag, the party was on the verge of schism. The party chairman and newly elected deputy Frauke Petri announced her withdrawal from AfG. The party was also abandoned by her husband Marcus Pretzel, a member of the European Parliament and the chairman of the Alternative in North Rhein-Westphalia. This decision was made by Petrie's trustees in various regions of the country. Former party members Petri very willingly commented on the reasons for the emergence of a group oriented on her from the ranks of the party. Sven Simon, the vice-chairman of the party in Saxony, explained his resignation: "The direction in which AfG develops inspires me. I'm not sure if I am now in the party which I joined in due time. " His colleague and the functionary of the youth organization Ralph Nalob was no less frank. It was important for him to prevent AfG drifting towards the "border of the political spectrum," but "this goal was not achieved."[2] Nalob clarified the direction of "drift", but it is clear that this is about right-wing extremism.

Opponents of Petri inside the "Alternatives" did not hide their joy, stating the "inevitability" of the departure of the former boss and her "inability to work in a team." Almost immediately after Petrie's resignation, the AfG faction split up in the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Landtag. Supporters of the disgraced leader registered a new faction, "Citizens for Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania." Many analysts predicted the domino effect and the collapse of AfG structures at all levels. However, this did not happen. The overwhelming majority of functionaries, including the Petri group in the AfG faction in the Bundestag, and ordinary activists remained in the Party.

In general, AdG is not under surveillance as a right-wing extremist party, but some of its activists and trends became the subjects of professional interest to the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. In February, the special services of Saxony announced the observation of some members of AfG. [3] In June, "right-wing extremist positions" were noted in the intra-party "Patriotic Platform". In August, it became known that under the supervision of the special services is the chairman of AfG Bavaria Peter Bystron. [4]

By the end of 2017 the rating of AfG has not changed. In the middle of December, it fluctuated between 12% and 13%. [5]

The remaining right-populist and right-wing radical parties continued their electoral fall in 2017. The "traditional" right-wing extremist party of the NPD (National Democratic Party, Nationaldemokratische Partei, NPD), called neo-Nazi in a number of media, or close to neo-Nazism, performed extremely unsuccessfully at federal elections. In 2017 another judicial attempt to ban the activities of the NPD was completed. The party was not banned because of its "insignificance", although the judges of the Federal Constitutional Court found in its program contradictions with the Basic Law of Germany. Another right-wing radical party, the "Civil Movement for Germany" (Bürgerbewegung Pro Deutschland), was officially dissolved in November 2017.

Among the right-wing and nationalist political movements in 2017, as in the previous year 2016, the political Movement "Identity" (Identitäre Bewegung, Identitäre) was distinguished. Its German branch is under the supervision of special services and is part of the European network of ultra-rights, opposing migration and "the loss of the traditional identity of Europe." Unlike the above-mentioned "classic" right-wing extremist parties, "Identical" conduct creative performances in the center of megacities in order to draw attention to their slogans.

As for the Islamists, according to the data of the German special services, in July 2017 the number of Salafists in Germany reached 10,300 people. The newspaper "Die Welt" notes that the Salafist environment is "a fertile ground for terrorism." In total, about 24,000 people in the Federal Republic of Germany are considered Islamists. 1,800 of them are considered to be "Islamist-terrorist environment". More than 700 are potentially dangerous. [6] Under supervision of special services there are more than 90 mosques. [7]

An increase in the number of Salafists and supporters of other radical Islamic movements is noted not only in the country as a whole, but also in some federal lands. The Bavarian department for the protection of the Constitution in its report for 2017, noted the "growth of threats", provided information on 730 Salafists living in this federal land. 70 Islamists went to Iraq and Syria. 26 of them returned to Germany. [8]

In connection with the increased activity of Islamists in German society there were accusations against Iran. The Federal Government's response to the request of the Greens faction in the Bundestag outlines the facts supporting Tehran's radicalization of Shiite communities in the territory of Germany, in particular the Islamic Center of Hamburg (IZH). The politician from the "Greens" Volker Beck demanded to apply measures and prevent the "Iranian regime" from spreading the "misanthropic ideology" among Shiites living in Germany. [9]

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