Far-right is a threat to German democracy, warns intelligence chief

Europe
Fri, 12 Jan 2024 7:26 GMT
Thomas Haldenwang calls on ‘silent majority’ of society to stand up for democracy, take stronger stance against far-right parties, movements.
Far-right is a threat to German democracy, warns intelligence chief

Germany’s intelligence agency chief warned on Thursday that the rise of far-right parties and movements is a serious threat to the democratic system.

"People have settled into their comfortable private lives and are not sufficiently aware of how serious the threats to our democracy have become,” said Thomas Haldenwang, the head of the domestic intelligence agency BFV.

“I hope that the middle of society, the silent majority in this country, will stand up, and finally take a clear position against extremism in Germany,” he told public broadcaster in ARD.

Haldenwang also warned that antisemitism is becoming more widespread in the German society.

“It is a disgrace, it is shameful how openly antisemitism is now being displayed in our country, where the Holocaust originated,” he said.

Last year, German authorities registered more than 2,800 antisemitic crimes in the country, including verbal and physical assaults, threatening letters, and arson attacks targeting synagogues.  

AfD surges in opinion polls

Support for the far-right AfD party is increasing in Germany amid growing public discontent with the ruling coalition of Social Democrats, the Greens, and the Free Democrats.

A new poll showed on Thursday that the support for the AfD hit an all-time high of 24%, about nine percentage points ahead of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democratic Party (SPD).

The YouGov’s poll found that 12% of Germans would vote for the Greens, and only 6% would support the liberal Free Democrats.

Almost two out of five German voters (39%) said they were “rather” or “very” pessimistic about the new year.

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