Last week the Christian Democratic Union, one of the major parties in Germany, won a clear victory in a local election: more that one-third of the seats in the parliament of the State of Saxony-Anhalt (37.1%) will be occupied by members of the CDU, which is considered center-right. Saxony-Anhalt is a conservative state, and the CDU’s most worrying competition came from the far right Alternative for Deutschland (AfD), which runs its campaigns on anti-refugee sentiment and pandemic denial.
Saxony-Anhalt represents some of the land whence came the “Saxons” — the invaders of the British isles in the dark ages. Prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of one Germany in 1989-90, the state now called Saxony-Anhalt was part of Soviet-dominated East Germany.
The AfD seemed to have the momentum in the early campaigning. There were worries it would end up with the largest bloc in that state’s parliament, which would have been a bad sign for the stability of politics in Germany generally.
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The election turned into a conflict between center right and far right largely because the parties calling themselves the “left” are quite weak in Saxony-Anhalt now. The traditional center-left mothership, the Social Democratic Party, won just 13% of the seats, 10.6% of the votes.