From Black to Orange SPIEGEL ONLINE's Guide to German Political Parties

The Reichstag, Germany's parliament building in Berlin.

The Reichstag, Germany's parliament building in Berlin.

Part 9: Alternative for Germany (AfD)

Alternative for Germany (in German: Alternative für Deutschland -- AfD) is the newest party in Germany's political landscape. Officially founded on April 14, 2013, it is thus far largely a single-issue party: It wants to do away with the euro, or at least get Germany to back out of the European common currency zone.

The party is led by Bernd Lucke, 50, a professor of macroeconomics at the University of Hamburg, whose background is typical for the party's founding members. Rather than a party of dissatisfied cranks, it has become a collection of (mostly male) well-off professionals and economic experts who are opposed to ongoing efforts to prop up the euro with taxpayer money.

The AfD hopes to capitalize on widespread disillusionment in Germany with the euro and the numerous bailout packages the crisis has triggered. While most Germans continue to support the common currency, a significant minority, many of them from the conservative side of the political spectrum, would like to see its dissolution. Several parliamentarians belonging to Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right governing coalition have even proven unwilling to support bailout packages for struggling Southern European euro-zone member-states in the recent past.

Whether the AfD can attract significant amounts of support remains to be seen. But many could come to view it as a viable alternative to the conservative Christian Democratic Union, which has moved to the center under Merkel in recent years. Even if the party fails to surpass the 5 percent hurdle necessary for representation in German parliament, it could siphon off enough voters from Merkel's coalition to endanger her re-election.

Color used to represent party: None yet


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