Feb 122014

Germany’s Eurosceptic AfD is expected to do well in the European Elections, at least by German standards: They are projected to clear the three per cent threshold, which would above all give them access to public funds and more PR opportunities.

After I called them ‘anti-European’ on public radio, upset party members have been in touch (and all over facebook) to inform me that they are ‘anti-EU’ (or rather against the EU in its present shape), but not against ‘Europe’ per se.  They even claimed that they are pro-European, in a fashion. Hm.

I duly decided to mend my ways and read their manifesto front to back, but as it turns out, there is neither a proper manifesto (again, by German standards) nor something specific to the EP2014. All they have on their website is the 14 pt/4 page document they had quickly drawn up just in time for the German general election that was held last September (a legal requirement for fielding lists).

Wordle: AFD-Programm

So I extracted  the text from this PDF and made a wordle from it  (incidentally, wordle.net suggested  typsetting the result in Fraktur, but I decided that would create a certain bias). As you can see, ‘fordern’ (demand) is the most frequent word, which results from the heavy use of litany in this short text. The second most important word is ‘Deutschland’. Euro and EU also feature, but they are on par with ‘Kinder’ (children) and ‘education’ (Bildung), issues over which ‘Europe’ has no jurisdiction.

This is not an artifact of the party’s name (which appears only twice in the text). ‘EU-/Eurosceptic’ they may be,  but this rather goes to show that the party seems very much concerned with Germany and German politics. Right now, different factions within the party – conservatives, liberals, whatnot – try to define what the AfD stands for. It will be interesting to see what future party documents will tell us about this struggle.

Sep 292011

One feels almost sorry for the Social Democratic left: They are squeezed between the more modern Greens/Libertarians on the one hand, and the Extreme Right on the other. Here’s the preprint of a chapter I’m preparing on that topic. It should be out in late 2012

Aug 282009

In my pet model, the salience of issues such as immigration or national identiy in the manifestos of established parties

Random shock to salience - support cannot be bothered to react

Random shock to salience - support cannot be bothered to react

makes a vote for the extreme right/radical right much more likely. There is, however, a potential problem with this argument: if radical right support is stable in the medium term, and if other parties react to past successes for the radical right by modifying their manifestos, this relationship might be spurious. In my paper for the ECPR conference at Potsdam, I use a time-series model  to address this problem: I estimate a Vector Auto Regression (VAR) of radical right support and issue salience in France (while controlling for immigration and unemployment). As it turns out, salience is independent of previous radical right success. This finding provides some support for my original argument, though the analysis  preliminary and restricted to France (at the moment).

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