Angela Merkel refuses to abandon refugee policy despite election setbacks
Angela Merkel has described Sunday’s regional elections in Germany as a “difficult day” for her party after strong gains were made by the anti-immigrant Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), but said she would stick by her existing open door refugee policy.
“The refugee question requires a European solution – a sustainable solution – and that solution requires time,” the German chancellor said at a press conference in Berlin on Monday.
AfD entered state parliaments in all three regions that voted, winning 24% of the vote in Saxony-Anhalt and more than 10% in Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate. Merkel’s Christian Democrat party (CDU) lost support in Baden-Württemberg, a region dominated by the CDU since the end of the second world war, and Rhineland Palatinate but remained the largest party in Saxony-Anhalt.
The German chancellor conceded that the rise of the AfD was a sign of protest against the “unresolved question of the number of refugees” and “fears about integration”. She said she saw the AfD as “not an existential problem for the CDU, but a problem”.