German Chancellor Angela Merkel grew up under communism. As the first Chancellor from East Germany, she knows Karl Marx and the potential dangers of communism, and she believes that threat has come back from the grave.
The complicated balance of German politics was recently disturbed by the rise of the anti-Euro party Alternative for Germany (AfD), which won its first seats in parliament last month. The AfD’s name explains most of its platform: dismantle the European Union. Seated in the largest E.U. economy, the AfD could one day pose a real risk to what is now the largest economic entity in the world, but that’s not what Merkel is afraid of, or why she feels the need to invoke the name of Karl Marx.
The problem is the AfD is taking votes away from the Social Democratic Party. The SDP is normally the junior partner of Angela Merkel’s party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), but under the duress, there’s a possibility that the SDP will join with the communist East German party to form a new ruling coalition.
This potential communist rise could happen in two states, Brandenburg and Thuringia, prompting Merkel to say the potential leftist alliance would bring “Karl Marx into the state premier’s office.”
The chancellor has been hitting the campaign trail to shore up votes before Marx gets too far. The CDU is still expected to win more votes than any other party in Thuringia, just not a majority. Since the CDU refuses to ally with the rising AfD, Merkel is left with an awkward job of both campaigning for her own party, but also preventing the SDP from running away. Merkel started by saying the leftist alliance would diminish the SDP.
“There’s a big national party here, the SPD, with a proud history… who would have thought that. A big, proud party like the SPD is making itself small.”
Aside from threatening the rise of Karl Marx, she’s also been trying to hit hot-button issues like immigration. She offered the following regarding the border with Poland.
“It can’t go on as it is today. We’re a country that welcomes people from other lands, but that means everybody has to abide by our laws — and those who don’t have to face the full force of the law.”
Whether the Chancellor’s efforts to prevent the figurative spectre of Karl Marx from ruling the local parliaments were effective will be decided as soon as the votes are counted.
[Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons]