Connect to share and comment

New German anti-euro party on 3 percent may grow - pollster

PlacardEnlarge
(GlobalPost/GlobalPost)

BERLIN (Reuters) - A newly launched party that wants to take Germany out of the euro would not win enough votes to enter parliament, according to a survey published on Tuesday, but the pollster said it could gather more steam given German angst over costly bailouts.

The Alternative fuer Deutschland (AfD) movement, which held its inaugural congress on Sunday, would win three percent in an election, said the INSA-Meinungstrend poll commissioned for the Bild daily, below the 5 percent threshold for entering parliament.

But with AfD drawing disproportionate support from voters who normally back Chancellor Angela Merkel's centre-right coalition, political analysts say it could influence German euro zone policy and make Berlin even less willing to back bailouts.

"The AfD has a big potential. Two thirds of Germans reject the multi-billion euro bailouts (according to previous polls)," said Hermann Binkert, head of INSA.

Party founder Bernd Lucke, an economics professor, has said AfD is aiming to get a double-digit result in the election due in September. Members of the ruling coalition including Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble say it should be taken seriously.

However, political analysts say it will still be very difficult for the AfD to break above the 5 percent barrier.

The INSA poll showed Merkel's conservatives on 39 percent, her main opponents the centre-left Social Democrats on 26 percent and their allies the Greens on 15 percent.

It also showed Merkel's current coalition ally, the liberal Free Democrats (FDP), on 5 percent, just enough to scrape back into parliament. The Left Party was on six percent.

Merkel remains very popular after nearly eight years at the helm and voters particularly support her policy of insisting on tough economic reforms in ailing euro zone countries as the price for bailout funds.

But previous polls have suggested one in four German voters would consider supporting AfD, reflecting persistent unease in Europe's largest economy over the long-term costs and viability of the euro project.

AfD supports an "orderly" dismantling of the euro zone because it believes this to be in Germany's best interests, but also because it says this would help southern members of the currency bloc that are struggling with crushing recessions and rising unemployment.

The new party faces logistical hurdles before the election, including the need to collect 2,000 signatures in each of Germany's 16 federal states to stand in the poll at all.

(Reporting by Gareth Jones; Editing by Erik Kirschbaum and Andrew Heavens)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130416/new-german-anti-euro-party-3-percent-may-grow-pollster