Photo by Odd Andersen -AFP-Getty Images
Germany has come to a cross roads. The alt-right party AfD has been gaining power and changing the face of a country that has, since World War II, rejected extreme movements. That doesn't seem to be the case any longer.
The AfD has been gaining support with a section of the population who live in a misguided fear of losing their German identity in the wake of the refugee crisis, and a growing mistrust of the establishment government.
In September AfD won 13 percent of the vote securing its place as the third largest party. They now hold 94 seats in the lower house of parliament and could possibly become the main opposition party.
There was hope after September's election that Chancellor Angela Merkel would form a coalition government among smaller parties, but the talks have fallen through. Merkel has since switched tactics and sought out a "grand coalition" with Social Democrats.
If this should go through it will place the AfD as the biggest party outside the established government.
The gain for the AfD is primarily symbolic, but it would certainly expand their platform allowing the party to spread it's anti-Muslim and anti-immigration rhetoric.
One such plan from the AfD, that drew mass criticism within the parliament, was for Germany to make a deal with Syrian President Bashar Assad to send fleeing war refuges back to Syria.
Charlotte Galpin, deputy director of the Institute for German Studies at the University of Birmingham weighed in on the predicament Merkel finds herself in, saying,
“The fear is that if there are new elections that AfD may actually increase their support and number of seats. Concern about the AfD is perhaps one driver of the need to form a coalition and find a solution.”
As of now, talks between the Social Democrats and Merkel are in the beginning stages but it looks as though she will be able to pull through this instability.
The future of Germany's political landscape will be left up to the public's reaction on how Merkel holds the government together.