By Yaiza García García
UW-Whitewater German Club organized an event in collaboration with the German Class to discuss the past German Federal Elections and their results. The professor Ellen Boldt invited the German students to the meeting because she wanted to know the opinion of the students who are studying abroad in Whitewater this semester and also to get involved with them.
The party of Angela Merkel CDU party (“Blacks”) won the last election on the 24th of September with 33% and it’s her 4th Term in Office. In the second place, Martin Schulz’s party, SPD, with 20,5% and in the third place the AfD with 12,6% of the votes. It was the first time that an extreme right party entered in the most voted parties in Germany.
One of the first questions was if they were really surprised by the results and what would they think would happen in the future, whether or not Merkel’s victory will be beneficial to the country and the world. The response was positive, in general, they were all very satisfied with the continuity of the chancellor because in their opinions she guarantees stability. The students said they at the beginning, they disagreed with many of Merkel’s policies, such as the ban on gay marriage. However, the Chancellor changed her mind and that was a crucial decision for many of the voters who changed their minds.
Moreover, they seemed quite surprised and disappointed with the position of the far-right party, Alternative for Germany, or AfD, because their policies are too extreme. However, they understood it because the racism is still being a problem in Germany.
Professor Ellen Boldt said: “I couldn´t believe when they said that some of their family members have voted for them back I Germany while they are studying abroad.”
It was a good opportunity for American students to learn and see how young Germans are open-minded and can talk freely and respectfully about a controversial topic such as politics and elections. This is new for American students because in US young students and people, in general, tend to ignore these issues or directly prefer not to talk about it.
At the end of the class, an American student said: “I was amazed how this group of students who didn’t knew each other before coming to the US talked so fluently normal about their politics.”