They are the first right-wing party to be represented in the Bundestag since World War II, having ranked third in last year's parliamentary election, with 12.6 percent. Whether the AfD gets to lead the parliamentary budget, tourism and legal affairs committees, depends on the success of the renewal of the 'grand coalition' — the alliance between Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU)/Christian Social Union (CSU) bloc and the Social Democrats (SPD).
If the coalition negotiations, expected to begin on January 26, result in favor of restoring the union, the AfD will become the largest opposition party in the parliament — and traditionally it is the strongest opposition party that gets to head the budget committee, which vets eurozone bailouts.
The right-wing Bundestag newbie have expressed their delight on Facebook, while the AfD Parliamentary Secretary Bernd Baumann said the party is "very pleased to receive these important committees."
AfD holds a Eurosceptic position and challenges German-backed bailouts of Europe's struggling southern economies, such as Greece. Once they are in charge of the budget committee, the AfD cannot single-handedly veto aid. However, their perspective chair candidate, lawmaker Peter Boehringer, is unlikely to make pro-European budget decisions easy for the rest of the Parliament.
Merkel's aim in the upcoming negotiations with the SPD is to secure her fourth term as chancellor. The Social Democrats, however, has been torn by an internal debate ever since the election that saw the party reduced to its worst result since 1949. Questions continue to arise within the SPD about it strategic direction and leadership.
After the delegates' vote on January 21 to back formal coalition talks with Merkel's conservatives, a poll showed a dip in support for the SPD to 18 percent from 18.5 percent.
If Merkel gets what she wants from the upcoming coalition negotiations, it will secure her leadership position, boost AfD's parliamentary authority and potentially leave the Social Democrats sour and unsatisfied.