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The influx of refugees leads to electoral success for right-wing parties in Germany

Essen - According to new studies, the size of the population share of refugees has an influence on the election results of right-wing parties. "If there are more refugees living in a region, right-wing parties like the NPD, die Republikaner, die Rechte and - from 2016 - the AfD will win more votes," informed the Leibniz Institute for Economic Research (RWI) in Essen, summarizing the results of two studies. The effect is independent of the economic development of the region and affects state and federal elections.

Above all, the type of accommodation is decisive. If asylum seekers have to live in central reception facilities , right-wing parties gain votes in both the affected and neighboring communities, according to a paper published on Monday. If the refugees were housed in decentralized apartments, however, there was no effect.

The scientists therefore recommend politicians to “distribute refugees as evenly as possible over the regions”, in order to avoid polarization of the political discussion. In addition, the asylum seekers should “be accommodated in decentralized apartments as quickly as possible”.

Greens win in economically better regions
The two studies produced further results related to election results. While the voting shares of traditional popular parties such as the CDU or the SPD would decrease due to the influx of refugees, those of explicitly migration-friendly parties rose.

For example, the Greens in the districts and municipalities examined could have made gains. “However, this only applies to regions that are doing well economically. If unemployment is high or the average income of the population is low, there is no or even a negative effect on the election success of the Greens."

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