Tags: germany | conservatives | win | immigrant | votes | angela merkel

Ex-Minister: Merkel's Conservatives Winning Immigrant Votes in Germany

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Thursday, 07 May 2015 09:52 PM Current | Bio | Archive

In what could be a lesson for center-right and right-of-center parties in other countries, Armin Laschet, deputy chairman of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Party headed by Chancellor Angela Merkel, pointed out on Monday that Germany’s large immigrant population is voting increasingly his center-right party rather than the opposition Social Democratic Party (SPD).

"If the signal is there, that a party wants the immigrants, and they are sharing our values, they become part of our movement," Laschet told Newsmax at a luncheon hosted in Washington by the International Republican Institute.

"Lots of Republicans are also realizing this," he said.

Laschet, a past Member of the German Bundestag (parliament) and the European Parliament, is also a former minister of integration in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. His talk at IRI, officially entitled "After Charlie Hebdo and the Migrant Boat Tragedy, A German Perspective on How to Get Integration Right," was in conjunction with the German-based Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (foundation).

Laschet noted that the three countries who have sent the most immigrants to Europe in the past year are Syria (122,790), Afghanistan (41,305) and Kosovo (37, 875). Their three main destinations, he added, are Germany (202,645), Sweden (81,180), and Italy (64,625).

The CDU official emphasized that one ironclad requirement for German citizenship is mastery of the German language.

"If migrants learn German, they will stay here," Laschet said, "Without our language, there is no possibility in school." He added that "no advanced economy can survive without immigration," especially with an aging population."

Where Americans can have up to seven citizenships, the former minister pointed out that a German citizen can only have one citizenship. This has been a problem for Turkish immigrants "for whom Turkish citizenship is close to their hearts." But the single German citizenship is something that the government and German people feel strongly about, he stressed.

Laschet underscored that an integral part of German citizenship is "support for Israel."

Noting the dark history of his country with regard to Jews before and during World War II, he emphasized that a "relationship with Israel is something very special for Germans."

The CDU deputy chairman freely acknowledged that forty years ago, his party gave the clear impression of "we don’t like immigrants." Accordingly, he admitted, "the SPD was winning most of the votes of immigrants. That was also due to the ties of organized labor to the SPD."

But, as Lachet noted, this has changed over the years and today’s CDU under Angela Merkel "is doing much better with immigrant voters. We find they share our values and we make an effort to welcome them if they do agree with our platform." The CDU’s emphasis on the free market, opportunity, and encouraging the private business community is especially appealing to young immigrants who become German citizens, he said.

Proudly pointing to his party having a woman member of the Bundestag who happens to be a Muslim, Lachet said this is a sure sign that his party is reaching out to newer voters who look different that the traditional CDU politician. He likened it to Germany’s World Cup-winning soccer team in 2014, which includes several immigrant players "and does not look like the team of 1954."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.


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In what could be a lesson for center-right and right-of-center parties in other countries, Armin Laschet, deputy chairman of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Party headed by Chancellor Angela Merkel, pointed out...
germany, conservatives, win, immigrant, votes, angela merkel
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2015-52-07
Thursday, 07 May 2015 09:52 PM
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