If you are like me, then Frauke Petry is possibly an unknown joker in the German political deck. Or maybe she’s an ace in the hole for the redemption of Germany.
She’s in the news as these words are being written because she compared migrants to compost.
Politicians across Germany’s political spectrum have condemned the leader of the anti-immigration Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party after she was reported to have compared societies including migrants to compost heaps.
Frauke Petry, whose party has made big regional gains this year and is expected to win federal parliamentary seats in 2017, made the comments in a speech in Stuttgart on Monday, according to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ).
Pouring scorn on the idea that migrants made societies more diverse, she said: “What should we make of the campaign ‘Germany is colourful’? A compost heap is colourful, too,” according to the report.
No one at Petry’s office was available to comment on the quotes or confirm she said them.
Conservatives, Social Democrats and Greens – whose parties have all been shaken by the AfD’s rise – united to condemn the comments.
“The business model of these people is to scare people,” Thomas Strobl, the interior minister of the state of Baden-Württemberg and a member of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, told FAZ, calling the comments “revolting”.
“Frau Petry’s verbal baiting has reached a new level. People are systematically demeaned and played off against each other,” said Leni Breymaier, a Social Democrat.
The AfD was created in 2013 as an anti-euro party but Petry ousted the AfD’s founder and shifted the party to the right, playing to fears about migration. Since the arrival of about 900,000 refugees in Germany last year, it has made big gains and is represented in 10 of Germany’s 16 states.
Most of Merkel’s conservative CDU party rule out the possibility of forming an alliance with the AfD. However, a handful have recently backed the idea. Hermann Winkler told Superillu magazine the conservatives should contemplate such a coalition to avoid “heading towards a left republic”.
An INSA poll this week showed support for the AfD down half a percentage point from last week at 15% but still up about nine points from a year ago.
Frauke Petry said something quite reasonable. As usual, the establishment feigns outrage for political gain.
There is a very long piece about Frauke Petry which has just appeared in the New Yorker. The title of that piece describes her as a “rising star” in German politics.