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Robert Habeck, center, and Anton Hofreiter, right, leaders of the Greens, celebrate the results of the Bavaria state elections, Munich, Germany, Oct. 14, 2018 (AP photo by Kerstin Joensson).

The Extremes Made Gains in Bavaria, but Germany’s Political Center Isn’t Dead Yet

Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018

While much has been made of the rise of the far-right Alternative for Germany, or AfD, party, it was the left-wing Greens that recorded the biggest gains in last week’s state elections in Bavaria. By winning more than 17 percent of the vote, the Greens nearly doubled their total from Bavaria’s last elections in 2013 and will enter the new state parliament as the second-largest bloc.

Their success amid the ongoing collapse of Germany’s political center was a sign that across the spectrum, and not only on the right, voters are beginning to harden around the political extremes. If that trend continues, the question for the Greens is whether they will sustain their momentum through a series of upcoming state elections to truly transform themselves into a national alternative to the AfD. There were also some indications out of Bavaria that the political center isn’t totally disappearing—just its traditional representatives are. ...

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