Merkel Stands By Refugee Policy Despite Nightmarish Election Results

REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed to continue her open-door refugee policy Monday despite disastrous election results Sunday.

Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) lost two out of the three states in Sunday’s regional elections. The results appear to be a clear message from the people against Merkel’s refugee policies, with nationalist party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) reaching double-digit percentages in each of the three states. (RELATED: German Nationalist Party Wants To Ban Circumcision)

The chancellor called Sunday “a bad day” but asked Germans for more time to carry out her refugee agenda.

“Without a doubt, we have come a long way towards solving the refugee issue, but we still don’t have a sustainable solution,” Merkel said at a press conference Monday. “I am fully convinced that we need a European solution and that this solution needs time.”

The patience Merkel is asking for seems to be gone among many of her allies, who called for the chancellor to back down for the good of her party.

“The key reason for the losses is refugee policy, there’s no getting round it,” said Horst Seehofer, the Bavarian state prime minister and a close ally of Merkel’s. “Our answer to the electorate after such a result cannot be that everything goes on as it was.”

Merkel now has a little more than a year to find a solution to the refugee crisis before the general election in 2017.

German media agreed AfD’s growing member of members in all three states show that nationalism has become mainstream alternative for the first time since the fall of the Nazis in the 1940s.

AfD was founded as recently as 2013 and was originally intended to be European Union sceptic alternative. When conservatives grew increasingly worried about the refugee crisis last fall, it was able to attract many of CDU’s supporters.

AfD Vice Chairman Alexander Gauland said the party will take on an opposition role against all parties in the regional parliaments to further grow ahead of 2017.

“We don’t want to be a coalition partner of anyone,” Gauland said on a radio show Monday, “because we will fight these policies until the end.”

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