The Alternative for Germany’s (AfD) rise in the critical state of Hesse right before Sunday’s election, along with the fall of the ruling Social Democrats (SPD), could have broader implications at the federal level, with the job of far-left Interior Minister Nancy Faeser under threat.
Faeser may be the federal government’s interior minister, but she is also leading the SPD in her home state of Hesse, where the party has sunk to a shocking low of 16 percent after losing four points since last month, leaving it tied with both the AfD and the Greens for second place. The AfD saw its voting total rise one point compared to September, while the Greens lost three points.
If the SPD truly performs as poorly as the polls are showing, it could cost Faeser her job, with speculation growing that Chancellor Olaf Scholz, also of the SPD, could axe her after the election, as her position on a range of issues, including mass immigration, is becoming a liability. Faeser, who wrote for “Antifa Magazine” — a magazine affiliated with a designated terror group — shortly before she became interior minister, has launched a self-styled war against “right-wing extremism” and targeted the AfD with the full apparatus of the state security services. Her party in Hesse also proposed this month giving immigrants the right to vote in state elections after just six months on German soil, a move that led to a crisis in the party and an eventual attempt to backtrack.
Five years ago, the SPD achieved 19.6 percent in Hesse, which was their worst result since 1946. Anything worse than that result will only be seen as an example of the decline of the left-wing party and a personal rebuke of the politics of Faeser.
The Christian Democrats (CDU) are headed for a strong election result at 31 percent. The CDU currently governs with the Greens, but if the polls are correct, this coalition may be on shaky ground. However, with a combined 47 percent, they would have enough to theoretically govern another five years.
Another populist, right-leaning party has also entered as a dark horse in the polls, with the Free Voters jumping to 5 percent. The Free Voters recently saw a massive jump in the polls after a scandal over anti-Semitism erupted involving party leader Hubert Aiwanger in Bavaria, which he survived and only emerged from stronger. His party is expected to earn up to 17 percent of the vote there in upcoming elections.