The N.C. Zeitgeist Foundation and the American Council on Germany host Ambassador Thomas Matussek
Honorary German Consul, Klaus Becker, visits App State to discuss the outcomes of the 2017 German Election
On Monday, Oct 25, Klaus Becker –upon invitation of the Judaic Department of Appalachian university in Boone- addressed the Jewish community, He analyzed the post-election results of Germany’s parliamentary election which had taken place the day before, described various coalition scenarios and pointed out the unpleasant fact that the right-populist AfD entered the Bundestag (German parliament) for the first time. They got 13% of the vote and are herewith third largest party in the Bundestag. They are an anti-immigration party with clear nationalistic, racist, anti-Semitic and above all anti-Islam characteristics.
Davidson College and The N.C. Zeitgeist Foundation organized an election day watch event on Sunday, Sep. 24; complete with brats, potato salad and red cabbage.
Klaus Becker, Honorary Consul of Germany, described the pre-election background, introduced the main political parties and analyzed possible coalition scenarios while Dr. Besir Ceka, Assistant Professor with the Political Science Department at Davidson College, commented on the results.
Although the new right-populist party AfD was expected to enter the German parliament, its dramatic gains of 13%, making it the 3rd strongest party, came as a surprise, even as a shock. The relatively poor results of Germany’s two big parties, the Volksparteien or people’s parties, which have long been the pillars of a stable political system, are largely considered the political price for Merkel’s 2015 decision to open the borders to refugees from Syria and Iraq. The arrival of a million refugees over the last two years opened deep rifts in the population and weakened its support. Although Merkel’s CDU/CSU alliance won the highest share of vote, it has not won enough that it can govern alone, meaning it will have to find coalition partners from smaller parties.
On Saturday, Sep. 9, the exhibition Gotha and the Thuringian Forest was opened at the Schiele Museum in Gastonia. Gastonia and Gotha in Thuringia (one of the five formerly East German states, have been sister cities for a while. With a lot of efforts, patience and dedication, they have erected this wonderful exhibition which is really worthwhile to visit.
Klaus Becker, the German Honorary Consul, was invited to address the audience of about hundred people on the old-fashioned farm next door to the museum. He pointed out that in times of unpredictable U.S. foreign policies, the changing of the relations among the countries, it is even more important that grass root organizations of the United States and Germany are working closely together. People have to talk to each other, continue the dialogue, work on projects together like this marvelous exhibition to contribute to a sustainable and peaceful relationship.
Klaus Becker reminded that he had opened the doors to a closer relationship with Thuringia: its President of the State Parliament Christian Carius visited Charlotte several times and recently Wolfgang Tiefensee was in town, formerly mayor of Leipzig, today Secretary of Commerce in the Thuringian government cabinet.