Yes, the AfD failed badly in its big march through Thuringia on Sunday; the feared “blue wave” across the entire country did not materialize.

Yes, the AfD did not win any district administrator positions or important mayoral positions in the first round of voting. In the mayoral elections in the cities, sometimes only third place (Erfurt) or fourth place (Jena) was enough.

Yes, a local election is a local election is a local election; with all its local circumstances, it only has a limited signal character for the state elections on September 1st or even the federal government.

But the relief and even the complacency with the election results that has been evident since Sunday is completely misplaced.

What exactly were the expectations? That the candidates of the AfD, which is firmly right-wing in Thuringia, would be elected to dozens of offices with 50 percent plus X? That the AfD would be able to govern with an absolute majority in city councils and district councils from Eisenach to Altenburg over the next five years? That the majority of Thuringians want and vote for a “blue wave”?

It is surprising that Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow’s battered left-wing party is now showing satisfaction with the election results.

There is no reason for relief. On the contrary. Overall, the Thuringians’ voting decisions on Sunday must be disturbing and even worrying. The most blatant example: In the southern Thuringian district of Hildburghausen, the nationally known neo-Nazi Tommy Frenck narrowly made it into the runoff election for the district administrator position. In two weeks Hildburghausen will finally have a choice: neo-Nazi or free voter?

In other districts and municipalities, AfD candidates also made it into the runoff election, meaning they ended up in at least second place. It is quite possible that some AfD candidates will still climb a town hall or district office on June 9th.

Above all, the AfD has significantly increased its share of the vote across the country. The AfD won around one in four voters. In the last local election, only about one in six Thuringians voted for the AfD. The AfD’s various scandals, the Potsdam secret meeting on “remigration”, the allegations of money payments from China and Russia and the espionage case, are apparently less disturbing than many expected and hoped.

All of this doesn’t bode well for the Thuringian state elections on September 1st. Yes, the AfD will not achieve an absolute majority here either. But Sunday suggests that right-wing extremist ideologist Björn Höcke’s team can still improve on their impressive election result from the last state election (23.4 percent) in three months. The AfD as the strongest party, the strongest faction in the Erfurt state parliament, with a claim to the post of state parliament president? Quite possible.

While the CDU, which has been in opposition since 2014, achieved some successes on Sunday, Ramelow’s left and the traffic light parties have to expect the worst in September. Prime Minister Ramelow’s prospects for power are darkening. In September, the Sahra Wagenknecht alliance will come into play, which only appeared sporadically on Sunday. The Free State of Thuringia is probably faced with extremely complicated majority conditions.

While it currently seems impossible for the FDP to overcome the five percent hurdle, even the SPD and the Greens have to reckon with this political disaster.

The defeat of the traffic light parties has to do with their structural weaknesses in rural Thuringia. However, the fact that the SPD, Greens and FDP have once again lost votes may have to do with dissatisfaction with their course in the federal and state governments. The Berlin government parties were not even able to rally a fifth of voters behind them on Sunday.

They are threatened with further defeats in the European elections in just under two weeks. For the Chancellor’s SPD, everything that can go wrong is going wrong. The fact that the social democrat Andreas Bausewein, Erfurt’s mayor since 2006, now ended up well behind the CDU candidate seems like a warning sign for Olaf Scholz.

By Daniel Friedrich Sturm

The original for this article “No “blue wave”, but the AfD’s performance is no reason for relief” comes from Tagesspiegel.