The AfD party has become increasingly nasty – and more popular too. That nationalists will have a voice in the German parliament once again is disturbing

On the face of it, Sunday’s general election will be the most boring in Germany’s history. The only question seems to be: will chancellor Angela Merkel continue her “grand coalition“ with the Social Democrats (SPD), or will she rule with the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) or the Greens, or both?

One thing, however, seems as certain as Merkel’s continued premiership, and it’s more important: the far-right populist Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party will enter the Bundestag. Polls put it at 10% or more. For the first time since the Reichstag fire of 1933, a nationalist, reactionary, racist party will sit in the building where the republic was proclaimed in 1918, where Nazis and communists helped destroy the democracy of Weimar, where the red flag was raised by Soviet soldiers in 1945, and which – redesigned by British architect Norman Foster – has come to represent the modern, multicultural and friendly Germany the world saw during the football World Cup in 2006, when Merkel had been in office for just one year.

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