European Jewish Congress
JTA: Merkel elected to fourth term as German chancellor, while right-wing party set to enter parliament
EJC in the Media
JTA: Merkel elected to fourth term as German chancellor, while right-wing party set to enter parliament

Jewish leaders congratulated Angela Merkel on her election to a fourth term as German chancellor, while decrying the rise of Germany’s newest right-wing populist party, which for the first time will enter the national parliament.

The Alternative for Germany Party, or AfD – founded in 2013 – came in third, with 13.1 percent of the popular vote, according to early election results. The party is likely to have 94 seats in the 631-member Bundestag.

Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union won with a weak 32.9 percent of the vote, followed by the Social Democratic Party, with what observers have called a poor showing of 20.8 percent.

Speaking to the Tagesspiegel newspaper in Berlin, Josef Schuster, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, called the AfD a “party that agitates against minorities.” For now, their target is Muslims, he noted. “But I am convinced that when the topic of Muslims is no longer interesting, and it becomes politically and socially opportune to switch to another minority, they could easily do so. And I include Jews in that number.”

World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder congratulated Merkel on her victory, calling her “a true friend of Israel and the Jewish people.” He also sharply denounced what he termed the “disgraceful” reactionary party AfD “recalling the worst of Germany’s past.”

Moshe Kantor, president of the Brussels-based European Jewish Congress, also welcomed the election news, saying Merkel had “shown tremendous courage and conviction in her support of the revival of Jewish life in Germany” as well as being a  “strong supporter of the State of Israel.”

Kantor also expressed concern about the strong showing of the AfD. “We trust that centrist parties in the Bundestag will ensure that the AfD has no representation in the coming governing coalition,” he noted. 

Click here to read the full article in JTA

 

Monday, September 25, 2017
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Austria’s conservatives and right-wing populists surged to victory in Sunday’s parliamentary election, according to early projections, heralding a tectonic shift in the country’s politics after more than a decade under a centrist coalition.
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