Poll: German Populists Make Late Push, Could Become Largest Opposition Party Against Merkel

Jacob Bojesson | Foreign Correspondent

The Alternative for Germany (AfD) is on course to become the third largest party in September’s general election, according to a poll released Tuesday.

An INSA and Bild poll puts AfD at 10 percent of the vote, slightly ahead of the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) and the Left Party. The Green party is further behind at 7 percent.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) holds onto a comfortable lead at 37 percent, followed by the Social Democrats at 25 percent.

AfD was founded in 2013 and narrowly missed the 5 percent threshold to make parliament in the general election the same year. The party has been able to rise to relevance by capitalizing on the government’s open-door immigration policy. AfD could become the largest opposition party against Merkel’s coalition if CDU continues to rule with its sister party the Christian Social Union and the Social Democrats.

Frank-Christian Hansel, a founding member of the AfD, told CNBC that the party’s aim will be to push Merkel out of power before the end of the next term.

“The problems are getting so big with the migration crisis etc. that this next government will not be in power for the full four years,” Hansel told CNBC Tuesday. “The CDU will have to ask itself whether it is with the bourgeoisie or on the more liberal side. It can’t be both.”

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