The two internal party factions prioritize different agendas, though they are both fundamentally opposed to the existing euro system and the influx of immigrants and refugees to Germany. However, even in the early period when it drew most attention as an anti-euro party, the AfD owed its electoral successes to its anti-immigration and anti-refugee stance rather than to its anti-euro position.
The former issues were more emphasized by the national conservatives within the party after they won the ideological struggle with the economic liberals. The anti-immigrant and anti-refugee policies first appealed to blue collar workers and the unemployed. In addition, their support was mobilized effectively by the election strategy of the AfD, which campaigned mainly on an anti-immigration and anti-refugee platform, and obscured or de-emphasized the radical market-oriented policies of the party.
The presence of a right-wing populist party appears to have become the norm rather than the exception in contemporary European politics. The National Front of France, the representative right-wing populist party in Europe, made it to the second round of the presidential election, with Marine Le Pen as its party leader. The Dutch Party for Freedom emerged as the largest opposition party in the House of Representatives, winning They share similar stances and characteristics, such as Euroscepticism, anti-multiculturalism, anti-politics, dichotomous thinking, and proclivity for incitement and provocation Judith : 89— Upon closer examination, however, one will find considerable differences among these groups Ibid.
Their economic policies are especially intriguing. While some parties, such as the National Front of France, advocate for social state policies and trade protectionism, others such as the Freedom Party of Austria are underpinned by economic liberalism. The latter stands in opposition to European integration, but does not advocate for the raising of trade barriers to protect its domestic economy.
Likewise, although the UK Independence Party claims to be in favor of economic liberalism, it played a decisive role in Brexit, which would isolate the UK from the European continent. In fact, the AfD is intent on partially abolishing parts of social insurance programs and is averse to the minimum wage system.
It seeks to reform income tax to curb its progressive nature and abolish a fair number of taxes that promote income redistribution, such as property taxes and inheritance taxes. One of the particularly pressing questions that arise in light of these policies is why the AfD is receiving strong support from the groups that are least likely to benefit from such radical market-oriented policies.
Why does AfD promote radical market-oriented economic policies, and yet, have the main body of its supporters constituted by groups who would not benefit from such policies? This study will begin by analyzing the main supporting groups and policies endorsed by the AfD. Subsequently, two major factions and two key agendas within the AfD will be discussed, providing clues toward understanding such discrepancies.
The radical market-oriented nature of the party can be attributed to Eurosceptic economic liberals who founded and led the party during its nascent stage. Preferred political party and income level Bergmann et al. It is clear that the AfD has support of the high-income earners more so than that of the low-income earners when only the results discussed above are considered.
This suggests that the AfD has another support base on the opposite side of the income spectrum. The approval rating for the AfD among blue collar workers and the unemployed in the State Parliament elections Source: Infratest dimap Surely, the AfD still cannot be considered the party for blue collar workers and the unemployed. This phenomenon is also observed in a study by Niedermayer and Hofrichter. Increase in approval rating among blue collar workers was steeper than that of any other social group — its rate more than quadrupled 4.
Considering that other occupational groups did not show much change in their ratings or even dropped in their rating during the same period, even though the approval rating for the AfD increased for each group, this is a significant and meaningful change. In sum, although social groups such as blue collar workers and the unemployed are not the absolute majority among the supporters of the AfD, the approval rating for the AfD within those groups is increasing faster than for any other group, and their prominence as main supporting groups of the AfD is also growing. Three official policies announced by the AfD on a federal level — the Federal Parliament election manifesto, its basic doctrine, and the Federal Parliament election manifesto — will be used as baseline data AfD , a , The best economic performance is produced in competitive market economy.
This is the objective of a competition-oriented economy. AfD a : The economic policies central to the AfD — opposition to Eurozone bailout loan, lifting of trade barriers, deregulation and de-bureaucracy, reduction of government subsidies and limit on support period, and reduction of public domain — have been drawn from these doctrines, which are grounded in market liberalism, laissez-faire government, and anti-interventionism AfD a : 66—71; : Labor policies were also prepared on the same ideological platform.
The AfD announced official acceptance of a minimum wage, but its true intention has been clouded by comments from its key members, and there has been no practical evidence of its support in the form of policy change Nocun : 10— Bernd Lucke, who represented the party in its early stage, opposed the introduction of minimum wage promoted by the coalition between the CDU and the SPD, for the reason that it could harm national competitiveness. The AfD stipulated the maintenance of a minimum wage system in its basic doctrine for the first time in , and reiterated it in its Federal Parliament election manifesto one year later.
However, they only provided theoretical and abstract reasoning for why the system is needed, with no substantial content such as the amount of minimum wage that they would set AfD a : 35; : Policies related to temporary employment, such as dispatched work and subcontracts, were left in ambiguity for a long time. The party expressed clear opposition to related regulations before the European Parliament election, but did not reflect it in its basic doctrine due to conflicting views within the party Nocun : 16— These seem somewhat out of character, considering the basic position that the party has maintained so far.
Oddly, there is no mention of occupational health and safety insurance or medical insurance stated in the official materials of the party except for an abstract statement on medical insurance in its party platform AfD : 3. According to the draft of the basic doctrine leaked to the press, the AfD was planning on abolishing unemployment benefit I and occupational health and safety insurance entirely Spiegel Online The party maintains that unemployment and industrial accidents are extremely personal matters, and that the employer should be held responsible for compensation without help from the state or the corporation.
Indeed, in a survey of its own party members, Tax policy can be summarized as an elimination of income redistribution. First, in the case of income tax, the party argues for the simplification of the tax system and an increase in basic tax exemption amount in the name of fair taxation AfD a : As already stated in the Federal Parliament election manifesto of AfD : 3 , it is derived from a model devised by a tax law scholar and former judge at the constitutional court, Paul Kirchhof, in Those who belong in the middle- and low-income brackets will face greater economic burdens.
Although they may benefit momentarily from the reduced tax due to overall reduction of income tax rate, their economic burden will be greater in the long run as tax revenues and social expenditure are reduced. The policies of the AfD on other taxes that are designed to bring about income redistribution are just as preposterously simple and radical. In its Federal Parliament election pledges, the party stated its aim of having the property and inheritance tax be completely abolished in the basic doctrine, business tax be on abolition hold in the basic doctrine, and real-estate tax and land acquisition tax be reduced AfD a : 75; : Analyzing the leaked draft of the basic doctrine, the actual party platform on these taxes appears to be near abolition Spiegel Online There is no doubt that this series of tax policies is absolutely beneficial to the rich Nocun : 26— Ideological positions of German political parties Franzmann : The market radical economic policies of the AfD can be explained by its developmental history.
It was established by critics of European Integration who advocated for economic liberalism. The treaty represented a move beyond the existing alliance, which was limited in many ways to maintain peace and economic solidarity. The treaty called for the establishment of a unified political and monetary community and laid out the foundation for practical measures such as the establishment of the EU, the European Central Bank, and the single currency system.
This attempt to develop and expand European integration, however, was met with intensification and expansion of Euroscepticism in many European countries. Many found dissatisfaction with restricted sovereignty and acceptance of multiculturalism, which were inevitable for advanced integration, and such sentiments gained considerable followings. One such trend was created by a group of right-wing economic liberals. Of course, not all economic liberals were against European Integration. One of the major driving forces of European Integration is economic liberalization, so naturally there were economic liberals supporting European Integration.
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Advocates of Eurosceptic economic liberalism who acknowledge the inherent role of the state worried that the Maastricht Treaty would prevent the establishment and execution of stable economic policies at the state level by limiting national sovereignty, and interfere with the smooth operation of the market due to an increase in unfair political interventions upon the economy.
Germany was not an exception to this trend.
After the Maastricht Treaty was signed, Euroscepticism spread among economists who were firmly rooted in liberal ideologies. Some used their specialty to criticize the plan for a European monetary community and expressed their skepticism about hasty European integration. A declaration of a similar nature was also announced in , just before the introduction of the Euro.
The opposition movement against Maastricht Treaty also birthed new political parties. The party was founded on pillars that consist of economic liberalism, heavy criticism of EU economic policy, and opposition to Eurocentrism, which would operate according to political consensus rather than the logic of the market and competition. Joachim Starbatty, former deputy leader of the BfB, was a representative of opposition to the Euro system whose criticism was backed by Ordoliberalism. Franz-Ulrich Willeke, an economics professor at the University of Heidelberg, was also a deputy leader of the BfB, and others such as Roland Vaubel and Willhelm Hankel, both economics professors, did not join the party but openly endorsed it.
Karl Albrecht Schachtschneider, a jurist and a founding member of the BfB, was also a well-known anti-Europeanist. He, along with Starbatty, Hankel, and others, filed a constitutional appeal against The Amsterdam Treaty, which can be regarded as a follow-up measure to the Maastricht Treaty. BfB members and supporters, who stood at the forefront of opposition against the Euro system, would eventually become the key members of the AfD. Opposition to European Integration, which somewhat subsided after the introduction of the Euro, was re-ignited by the Euro Crisis in Germany Handelsblatt Germany, which feared that the financial crisis of southern European countries could potentially lead to the collapse of the Eurozone and wreak economic havoc across Europe, agreed to establish the European Financial Stability Facility EFSF and provide funding for countries in crisis, including Greece.
The Liberal Awakening Liberaler Aufbruch , which is a faction of the FDP with a marked tendency toward economic liberalism, gave harsh criticism of the excessive government intervention in the Euro Crisis. Such movements of opposition, however, did not resonate well within the existing political party system. On the other hand, movements against bailouts and the Euro system outside institutional politics were not negligible.
Economic liberal economists and business leaders who were critical of European integration began to organize against European integration once more. The Ifo Institute for Economic Research, one of the largest economic research institutes in Germany with a representative Euro critic Hans-Werner Sinn as its director, released the Bogenberg Declaration in October , and directed fundamental criticism at the Euro system for bringing about the Euro Crisis.
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Together, they attempted to place opposing bailout, abandonment of the single Euro, and freedom to withdraw from the Eurozone on the map as key agendas for a series of elections that were going to be held in Initially, the Electoral Alternatives started as a nonpartisan political group, and was meant to tackle the election in cooperation with the anti-Euro-oriented Free Voters. However, after witnessing the disappointing vote share 1. In its early stage, the AfD was led by the economic liberal faction centered on Lucke.
Lucke was a co-representative of the party, along with Adam and Petry, but in practice led the party on his own using his large vote share in the party representative election and publicity to legitimize his authority. Of the seven members of the AfD elected in the European Parliament election, five members identified themselves as part of the economic liberal faction — Lucke, Starbatty, and Henkel were all among them.
It was only natural for their radical tendency to be translated into their policy. Furthermore, numerous economists who were involved in the party must have exerted a significant amount of influence on its economic policies. Economist Starbatty was the representative of the academic advisory committee of the party, and economist Vaubel, a member of the academic advisory committee under the German Ministry of Economics, was also part of the committee.
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The ordoliberal standpoint recognizes the role of the state, but holds that it should only exist for the market and not against it, and that the dissolution of the Eurozone was a rightful measure that could free the market from the reigns of politics. Furthermore, ordoliberals believe that in order for the principle of competition to work smoothly, market results should be left entirely to the individuals, and all artificial attempts to correct this under the name of social justice ruled out. Since the AfD was based on such ideals, its economic policies were adjusted to accommodate basic trends such as market liberalism, laissez faire and minimal state intervention philosophies, and anti-interventionism.
These principles take form in more specific policies such as passive labor market intervention, reduction of social insurance expenditure, tax rate reduction, and tax repeal.
Pages in category "Political Efficacy"
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In: Political Methodology 1 1 , pp. Niemi, Richard G. Jump to: navigation , search.