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Germany’s and Austria’s Traditional Political Party System Crumbling

April 26, 2016 (EIRNS)—The outcome of the first round of presidential elections in Austria this past Sunday, which for the first time ever in the past six decades saw a smashing defeat of the candidates of the two government parties—Social Democrats (SPÖ) and People’s Party (ÖVP), is being closely monitored in neighboring Germany, because here also, recent elections have shown a rapid erosion of the two leading parties, Social Democrats (SPD) and Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

As in Austria, where the Freedom Party’s (FPÖ) candidate Norbert Hofer is the big winner of the first round, right-wing populism is on the rapid rise in Germany, where the Alternative for Germany party (AfD) has conquered third rank among the parties. In Germany, the erosion of the two leading parties is not yet as dramatic as in Austria, where the respective candidates together only received 22% together; but also in Germany, SPD and CDU are approaching a situation in which they do not even have enough votes together to form a Grand Coalition. With the 36.4% that Hofer got in Austria for his anti-refugee, anti-EU, anti-establishment platform, in the first round, he is the most likely to also win the second round on May 22—although all the other parties may pool their votes to make Green Party candidate Alexander van Bellen, who received 20.4% in the first round, the next president, instead of Hofer.

Hofer announced that once elected President, he would dismiss the present government, which, as the smashing defeat of its candidates showed, no longer has the voters’ support, and either have a new government with his FPÖ in it voted in, or go for early elections to "clean shop."

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