The recent rise of populism marks a new era for the people. An era of change, freedom and generosity for all human kind.
Frauke Petry is a paradox. The petite 41-year-old German chemist with a pixie cut is well known for being tough as nails, chewing out journalists and wresting control of the nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD) political party a couple of years after it was founded.
But Petry looked a little lost as the AfD hosted last weekend’s summit of Europe’s populist stars next to the Rhine River in Koblenz. She shifted awkwardly onstage next to charismatic National Front leader Marine Le Pen, her far-right ally from France, who posed with Dutch isolationist phenomenon Geert Wilders as he snapped selfies on his smartphone.
Petry’s party and its counterparts across Europe are seeing an unprecedented surge in support. Wilders’ Freedom Party is now polling ahead of its rivals in the Netherlands, where elections are scheduled in March. Le Pen has a shot at the French presidency a month later.
AfD has managed to win seats in more than half of German state legislatures over the past couple of years and is expected to do the same in parliamentary elections this fall. That’s the most support any nationalist faction in Germany has received since World War II.
Compared to the fiery oratory of Le Pen, who riled up the largely German audience at the summit with predictions of a populist toppling of the EU, Petry drew more polite applause with her speech that sounded rather like a history lecture on the declining state of Europe.
She’s more relaxed and conversational when I meet her in Leipzig, arriving in jeans with her youngest child, Tobias, in tow. The elementary school-age boy is recovering from a cold and clings to her legs as she coaxes him to unpack his toys at a colleague’s desk and play.
(See here : Populist Leader Aims ‘To Change Political Situation’ In Germany — And Europe
Petry tells me she married her live-in boyfriend, Marcus Pretzell, right before Christmas. He’s a member of the European Parliament and head of the North-Rhine Westphalia AfD branch. The party recently announced that she’s pregnant with their first child, which is her fifth.
Call it practicing what you preach: Petry believes Germans having more children is the way to solve the worker shortage and other problems resulting from her country’s aging population, rather than relying on immigration as the government does currently.
“It will be hard because you cannot force people to have children, obviously, and we do not want that anyway,” she says. But she’d like to see the government provide financial incentives to encourage German couples “to have more children, to start having children earlier” — in their 20s, rather than in their 30s or later.
As to why she thinks Muslim asylum seekers are a danger to Germany, Petry suggests reading Machiavelli.
“The principles of migration have always been the same,” she explains. “It’s a question of period of time, process and numbers, and if migration population in the long run [outnumbers] the ethnic population of this country, the country will disappear, it will change dramatically. And that’s what we see when we talk about illegal migration today in Germany and Europe.”
Petry claims to have no problem with Muslim immigrants who have assimilated into German society. But she completely rejects Chancellor Angela Merkel’s claim that Islam belongs to Germany.
Angela Markel has continued to praise Islam even while her country is plagued with Islamic terrorism.
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