For decades Germany’s industrial Ruhr region was a Social Democratic stronghold. In some districts the SPD used to win 60 percent of the votes. That vote has been cut in half, and the far-right populist AfD party has made inroads.
This legislative term's first open session began with an incendiary speech by the far-right populist AfD. But the chancellor refused to take the bait, offering a detail-heavy defense of her government's proposed budget.
Far-right French politician Marine Le Pen has called on European nationalists to "fundamentally change" the EU. She was trying to fire up a pan-European right-wing alliance, but some key populist leaders were no-shows.
Social Democrat Finance Minister Olaf Schoz has defended his proposed 2018 budget amid harsh criticism. Though it calls for increased spending, the proposal upholds the Christian Democrats' zero-borrowing policy.
Germany's AfD believes the country's hate speech laws should expressly encompass hate speech against Germans. The far-right party has presented a new bill to parliament that was defeated by other parties.
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