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Donald Trump-style populism has no chance in German election, study finds (DW.com)

Updated at 2017-07-25 05:59:23 UTC


By DW —

The anti-establishment frustration that swept Donald Trump to power and led the UK to vote for Brexit exists in Germany, but in a much more moderate form that will not decide the country's national election in September. That's the central conclusion of a Bertelsmann Foundation study of populism among people eligible to vote in the upcoming federal elections. The researchers defined populism as hostility to the establishment, the belief that "the people" were basically a homogenous group and the view that political leadership should be the direct expression of popular will. The study found that 29.2 percent of potential Germans voters were thoroughly populist, 33.9 percent were somewhat populist and 36.9 percent were not populist at all. Although a slight majority of Germans were frustrated with the way democracy works in practice, there was overwhelming support even among hardcore populists for democracy as a political system. "People with populistic attitudes in Germany are disappointed democrats but not enemies of democracy," said co-author Robert Vehrkamp at the official presentation of the study in Berlin. The same pattern applied to the EU, Vehrkamp said. Germans were critical of the EU in its current form while strongly supportive of the European bloc as a general concept. Germans seem to be less angry than Americans or British. Vehrkamp calls this "moderate populism."

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