German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday defended her open door policy which led to the entry of one million refugees to Germany and the rise of the nationalist, anti-migrant party, Alternative for Germany (AfD).
“Clearly, polarisation in Germany is linked to me as a person,” Merkel told a press conference after a meeting with leaders of her Christian Democratic Union party, Die Welt newspaper reported.
Merkel was referring to her 2015 policy which allowed some one million refugees, mostly from Syria and Iraq, to enter German and led to the decline of popularity of large parties in favour of anti-migrant far-right parties.
While acknowledging her responsibility for the state of polarisation, Merkel said: “I still see the basic decisions that I have taken and I take responsibility for them.”
She added that her party “will seek to communicate with people who met her with shouting and booing during the campaign” in several states.
The Christian Union, formed by the Christian Democratic Union Party (CDU), and the Christian Social Union Party (CSU), came first in the German election held on Sunday receiving 33 per cent of the votes.
The Social Democratic Party attained 20.5 per cent of votes.
The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) came third with 12.6 per cent after failing to beat the parliament’s five per cent threshold in 2013.
The Free Democratic Party (LDP) also made a big leap, scoring 10.7 per cent of the vote, after failing to enter the 2013 parliament.
Merkel stressed that she “does not see any errors in her campaign” despite the significant decline of her party.
“I fought the battle, as I planned it, and I studied it well, and a day after it ended I do not think it could have been managed differently,” she said. “I knew it would be a tough battle.”