Germany's Angela Merkel Wins 4th Term As Far-Right Party Gains Power Angela Merkel is chancellor of Germany again, but her party lost a lot of support, and the far right are in parliament for the first time in decades. The election results are a major shock for Germany's political establishment.
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Germany's Angela Merkel Wins 4th Term As Far-Right Party Gains Power

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Germany's Angela Merkel Wins 4th Term As Far-Right Party Gains Power

Germany's Angela Merkel Wins 4th Term As Far-Right Party Gains Power

Germany's Angela Merkel Wins 4th Term As Far-Right Party Gains Power

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/553532563/553532564" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Angela Merkel is chancellor of Germany again, but her party lost a lot of support, and the far right are in parliament for the first time in decades. The election results are a major shock for Germany's political establishment.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Angela Merkel is German chancellor for the fourth time. Her party won the most votes in yesterday's parliamentary election. But support from Merkel's Christian Democrats was at its lowest level since World War II.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

And a right-wing, anti-migrant party stormed into the German Parliament for the first time. It's called the Alternative for Germany. Its campaign focused directly on Merkel and her migration policies. Now it's expected to take more than 90 seats. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports from Berlin.

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SORAYA SARHADDI NELSON, BYLINE: Here in Berlin, campaign workers for Alternative for Germany, or AFD, celebrated their party's better-than-expected returns last night. They did especially well in the former East Germany, where Merkel grew up and has her electoral district. While exit polls suggest AFD benefited from a protest vote, Alexander Gauland, who is one of the party's newly elected MPs, is making the most of it.

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ALEXANDER GAULAND: (Speaking German).

NELSON: One of the first things he promised to do was to, quote, "hunt down Mrs. Merkel and whoever else stands in our way and take back our country and people."

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GAULAND: (Speaking German).

(APPLAUSE)

NELSON: The party says its goal is to craft a sensible immigration policy that protects German jobs and benefits, as well as pull Germany out of the eurozone so that German taxpayers stop paying for bailouts of debt-ridden countries. The new MPs also pledged to launch a parliamentary inquiry into Merkel and her refugee policy, which led to more than a million asylum seekers coming to Germany in recent years. But AFD's many critics say what the party is really about is deep-rooted xenophobia, anti-Semitism and a nationalist agenda that threatens to tear Germany apart in flight.

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UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Speaking German).

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: (Speaking German).

NELSON: During a televised debate last night, mainstream politicians criticized Gauland's recent speech, which called on Germans to be proud of what their soldiers achieved during the first and second world wars. The fourth term was always likely to be a difficult one for Merkel, and the presence of AFD in Parliament will only make that worse. But there are limits to what AFD can accomplish given that none of the other six parties that won seats in the new German Parliament are willing to work with it. Another problem for the AFD is strife within the party.

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FRAUKE PETRY: (Speaking German).

NELSON: Co-chair Frauke Petry walked out on a news conference she and her party's new MPs held this morning, saying she had no interest in serving in Parliament with her stunned colleagues.

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UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: (Speaking German).

NELSON: Petry later admitted on German public television that she had planned the dramatic exit. She hinted she would start her own version of the party without the extremist rhetoric, although she's been accused of that herself in the past.

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PETRY: (Speaking German).

NELSON: Petry said she wants, quote, "constructive politics" and that Germany needs a new beginning, which she predicts her new party will provide four years from now.

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CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL: (Speaking German).

NELSON: Merkel, meanwhile, told reporters she is determined to win back the million voters she lost to AFD and promised, quote, "hard confrontations" with the right-wing party in the Parliament. Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, NPR News, Berlin.

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