Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Big Winner in Sunday's German Election Was a Far Right Lesbian Goldman Sachs Economist

"Xeenophobic populism has returned to German national politics with a bang, this time in the guise of a 38-year-old lesbian investment-banking economist," writes Foreign Policy.

FP continues:
 Alice Weidel is the unusual figure who has come to symbolize the far-right Alternative for Germany’s (AfD) goal-line run into the Bundestag. The AfD’s astounding 13.4 percent finish makes it the first openly chauvinistic, illiberal party to capture seats in Germany’s foremost democratic institution since the early postwar years. Should the Social Democrats (SPD) enter another “grand coalition” with Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), the AfD, as the largest opposition force in the Bundestag with over 60 seats, would become Oppositionsf├╝hrer, the de facto leader of the opposition.
In part, the AfD owes its promotion into prime-time German politics to Weidel, its unlikely public face. A complete unknown in Germany until she, in tandem with Alexander Gauland, was tapped to lead the party’s national campaign. Gauland more or less fits the stereotype of the Willie Stark-style populist rabble-rouser, but its Weidel — a self-confident, dressed-for-success expatriate financial consultant who on the surface seems to be the sort of “globalist” that nationalist populists typically claim to despise — who has earned the higher public profile. It’s no accident, however, that she has remained in her party’s good graces.
Weidel was born and educated in West Germany, and after college, she lived in China for a year, working at Bank of China, and learned Chinese. Following a stint at Goldman Sachs in Frankfurt, she completed her doctorate in economics with a scholarship from the Christian Democrats’ foundation, the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung. From there she spent time at other way-stations in the private sector, including at Rocket Internet, signing up with the AfD in 2013, the year of its founding.
The AfD isn’t a party of suit-and-tie, neo-liberal stock-brokers and slick consultants. Its voters are overwhelmingly men, older than 30, educated and middle-income. Its bastions are in the most beleaguered of the eastern states, not the western financial capital of Frankfurt. But Weidel has never made a serious attempt to hide the more incongruous aspects of her biography.
When Weidel first joined the AfD, it was out of deep eurosceptic convictions. At the time, the early focus of the so-called “professors’ party” (she wasn’t the only one) was not opposition to immigration, but rather Germany’s multi-billion euro bailouts of the debt-strapped southern Europeans...he AfD’s single-issue target moved when the 2015 refugee crisis broke, during which nearly a million immigrants entered Germany — and Weidel opportunistically moved with the AfD. A person who college friends remember as open-minded and fond of Turkish gastronomy, jumped on the anti-immigrant bandwagon. The AfD’s topic number one is migration, and at rallies or on talk shows neither she nor her colleagues beat around the bush. Germany, says Weidel, “has become a safe port for foreign criminals,” more specifically: Islamic criminals. She calls for prisons in northern Africa for deported “criminals” from those countries, the curtailing of civil liberties for immigrants guilty of crimes, and withdrawing Germany from the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Minarets should be banned across Germany, as should head scarves worn by Muslim women in Germany’s offices of public service. “The refugee crisis is in no way over,” says Weidel, calling for the abolition of the current asylum law, which the AfD claims is a product of Germany’s overcompensation for Nazi-era crimes. Otherwise, says Weidel, Germany can expect a “mass attack on Europe and Germany.”...
 [A]nother aspect of Weidel’s biography – her common law marriage to a woman, a Swiss filmmaker boasting Sinhalese heritage, with whom she has two adopted sons who live in a village on Lake Constance in Switzerland. (Apparently they illegally hire a Syrian refugee as cleaning lady.)
Read the full article here.

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