In Germany, elections loom and doubts about the eurozone

Stephen Beard Sep 20, 2013
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In Germany, elections loom and doubts about the eurozone

Stephen Beard Sep 20, 2013
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Germans go to the polls this weekend to elect a new government. Chancellor Angela Merkel seems a shoe-in to secure a third term in office. But one of the most intriguing questions in the campaign is this: what will happen to Germany’s newest political party and its anti-euro message?  

The Alternative For Germany party — AfD — has broken a German taboo and challenged the existence of the euro. The party would like to see the weaker member states withdraw from the eurozone even though that might lead to the collapse of the single currency and would be very costly for Germany.

“The exit is expensive. But staying in the euro is deadly,” says Hugh Bronson, an AfD candidate in the election.  

Germany could precipitate the unraveling of the eurozone if it refused to back anymore bailouts. And Germany might do just that if the AfD wins as much as 10 percent of the poll in Sunday’s election.

“We cannot exclude that German policy shifts towards the euro area, that we will not pay more to this or that, and that we’ll not give anymore guarantees for credit. That could in the end lead to break of the euro area,” claims economist Gustav Horn.

He concedes that this is unlikely. Most opinion polls suggest the AfD will win less than the 5 percent it needs to get seats in the parliament. But a strong showing by the AfD, would break a psychological barrier and make euroskepticism respectable in Germany.

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