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    German Chancellor Angela Merkel reacts as she addresses a news conference after a meeting with state premiers at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, January 28, 2016

    Angela Merkel in 'Political Earthquake' as Right-Wing AfD Overtakes Her in Poll

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    German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been dealt a heavy blow after the latest poll showed the populist right-wing party Alternative for Germany (AfD) overtaking her in a poll in the home state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern ahead of regional election on September 4.

    With just days to go, a poll of voting intention in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern by Insa on behalf of Cicero magazine puts AfD on 23 percent, with Merkel's CDU party on 20 percent. If the actual vote swings that way, it would be — as Cicero put it in a headline — an "existential crisis for the CDU/CSU alliance and a "political earthquake" in German politics. 

    In the latest poll, commissioned for media outlets Ostsee-Zeitung, Nordkurier, Schweriner Volkszeitung and NDR, almost one in four will vote for either the right-wing populist AfD or the far-right ultranationalist National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD).

    Terrorism and Islamophobia

    Merkel has drawn strong criticism over her 'open doors' policy over refugees. In the summer of 2015, she made clear Syrian refugees would be welcome in Germany, precipitating a huge movement of migrants from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq — among other nations — fleeing warzones.

    ​However, the sheer volume of migrants arriving in Germany — many of them Muslims — has caused major strains in many German states, with asylum-seekers creating a burden on local authorities. More than 1.1 million entered Germany in 2015 alone.

    Merkel said, June 18, refugees had not brought terrorism to Germany, adding that Islam belonged in the country as long as it was practised in a way that respected the constitution. Germany has been rocked by a spate of attacks on civilians — some of them connected with Daesh, or ISIL, stoking further anti-migrant sentiment within Germany.

    ​However, Merkel came out fighting this week telling German TV that much had been achieved since she declared an open doors policy to refugees in 2015. "We have achieved a lot since then and we need to do some more. We are at a completely different position since last year," she said.

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    Tags:
    refugee crisis, migrant crisis, federal government, election, Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU), Alternative for Germany (AfD), Angela Merkel, Germany
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