Xenophobia Overshadowed the State Elections in Germany
This past Sunday (March 13th), there were local elections in three states of Germany: Baden Witterburg, Saxony-Anhalt and Rhineland-Palatinate. The Pirate Party of Germany (PPDE) did not manage to gather enough signatures to participate in Saxony-Anhalt. In Baden-Württemberg they achieved 21.733 votes (0.41%) and in Rhineland-Palatinate they achieved 16.790 votes (0.8%).
In the two states where PPDE took part in elections, their returns fell below the numbers achieved in 2011. Despite internal turbulence, however, there still remains noteworthy support of the party and its politics. Still, PPDE remains without representation in these local parliaments.
After the elections, Stefan Körner, national chairman of the Pirate Party of Germany, said in a statement:
“The Pirate party in Rhineland-Palatinate and Baden-Württemberg have led a grueling and exhausting election campaign with great dedication and enthusiasm in recent months. I want to thank you all for your work. Unfortunately, the results have not turned out the way we wanted. The election campaigns were marked by the topic of the refugee policy, obviously the loudest, with the simplest slogans, gained most on this. Thanks to all of our constituents”.
The media played a critical role in shaping the agenda of the election into mainly one issue; as a result, the public was dragged into simple slogans of xenophobia. When seeing this media focus, one might wonder if the refugee crisis is the sole issue Germany faces. In local elections, citizens should to vote with regard to local issues; candidates should be engaged on these issues and not be sucked fast in to arguments, populism and slogans against foreigners. The Pirate candidates defended human rights and the right to asylum.