‘Sad moment for Germany’ but MPs hopeful centrist government can be formed

MEP and Christian Democrat David McAllister told Brett Mason it was not the result he was hoping for.


“Of course, we have won this election. The CDU/CSU will be the strongest group in the German Bundestag and we have a mandate to form a new government for Germany. If you’re in politics you have to show responsibility,” Mr McAllister told SBS World News. 

As a Democrat, Mr McAllister said he had to accept nearly 13 per cent of the German electorate voted for the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

“If we have suffered some losses, I believe it was justified. This is the distinction between a populist party and a responsible party” 2/2

— Brett Mason (@BrettMasonNews) September 24, 2017

But he said he regrets the result.

“This is a sad moment for Germany” Mr McAllister said.

“For the first time a far right, right wing populist party will enter the German Bundestag and we will play according to the rules with them. But one thing is clear – the German Bundestag will never be a platform for racism or extreme nationalism.”

Demonstrators protest outside the Alternative fuer Deutschland (AfD) election party in Berlin, Germany, 24 September 2017 AAP

The AfD, Mr McAllister said, was a single issue party.

“They’re playing with peoples’ fears and they’re giving very simple answers to very complex questions” he said.

However he did acknowledge that the concerns of AfD voters had to be taken seriously.

Competing interests

Mr McAllister said it was too early to say who will form a government with whom, but pointed to crucial elections in Lower Saxony on October 15.

“The Socialists today announced they would definitely go into opposition. I understand this might have been a first reaction, under the circumstances of the worst result of the Social Democrats in post-war German history” he said.

“Let’s wait and see because we’ve got to be careful in Germany. If every party says they’re not ready to go into government, we have a problem.”

‘Jamaica coalition’

Elmar Brok, MEP and Christian Democrat, said it may be that the Socialists reconsider.

“The Jamaica coalition, I think, is a good promise to keep yet” he said, referring to the ‘Jamaica coalition’ of the conservatives, FDP and Greens – the name referring to the black, yellow and green colors of the Jamaican flag.

On the rise of the AfD, Mr Brok said it was a situation in many other countries.

0:00 Germany election 2017: What you need to know about the AfD party Share Germany election 2017: What you need to know about the AfD party

“Now for the first time in Germany, for many people it’s our historical experience, from the Nazi time – not so in their mind any more. And I think here we have to explain more that nationalism is always against the national interest.”

“Here” he said “I think we were perhaps not good enough but it means that there will be no cooperation at all with this party.”

Merkel ‘in good mood’

Peter Altmaier, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Chief of Staff, told SBS World News that while they’re disappointed that some votes have gone to the liberal parties and extreme right, Angela Merkel was ‘very satisfied’ that a new mandate had been won.

“We are by far the strongest party and we are committed to our European policy” he said.

“We are committed to our transatlantic partnership; we are committed to a good relationship with Australia and we believe Germany needs a strong and active government.”

Supporters hold posters as German Chancellor Angela Merkel returns on the stage at the headquarters of the Christian Democratic Union CDU in Berlin.AAP

Refugees: a political price?

Peter Altmeier said Germany has accepted its humanitarian responsibility for the lives and health of hundreds of thousands of people.

“Sometimes you have to pay a price for doing politics with regard to domestic reforms” he said, “with regard to refugees, with regard to foreign affairs. There’s a distinction between a populist party who is just looking for votes and a responsible political party look for good results.”