Everyone was shocked and bemused at Trump’s victory in U.S Presidential Elections held on November 8, 2016. No one thought that the American people (or rather I should say the American Electoral System) would elect a lowlife, misogynist and hot-headed person such as Trump to be their Commander-in-chief, especially when he was contesting against a veteran such as Hillary Clinton. No doubt, Clinton was not the best candidate for the Presidential race ever since her email scandal was revealed to the entire world. Still, Trump’s victory is appalling. So why did Trump win? Because he was the “populist” candidate. He noticed the surge in the popularity of notions like anti-globalization, Islamophobia and border security among the American citizenry and used them to his advantage.

But Trump is not the first one to exploit such emotions of the public (and he won’t be the last). Nigel Farage, former leader of the UK Independence Party that led the Brexit movement, has almost the same views. Farage has said that he supports Muslim immigrants who integrate to British society, but is against those who are "coming here to take us over".

Frauke Petry, only 41 years of age, is the leader of the Alternative for Deutschland Party. She holds a doctoral degree in chemistry and is a businesswoman by profession. Ever since she became the chairwoman of the party in 2015, she has been giving controversial statements about every important issue.

Why is she called “Adolfina”?

She claimed that a German newspaper nicknamed her “Adolfina” for her policies. Many Germans are now wondering whether they have learnt the lessons of World War II. Ms. Petry has been taking jibes at Chancellor Merkel’s Willkommenkultur (welcome culture) towards migrants and refugees. Her comments about Muslims also are not positive.

Ms. Petry’s views on Muslims

Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West or Pegida movement aims to stop the Islamization of Europe. It has mustered support in European countries by raising slogans against Islamic terrorism and extremism. Many people who support Pegida movement in Germany are members and supporters of Ms. Petry’s party. When the Muslim-German footballer Mesut Ozil performed Umrah and posted a picture on the internet, Ms. Petry criticized him and accused him of not singing the German national anthem. On the issue of Muslim women wearing hijab, Petry said clearly that this this sort of costume should not be allowed in schools. In its new manifesto, the party recently called for a ban on the Muslim call for prayer, minarets, headscarves and halal slaughter.

She said in an interview that, “We have Qur’an schools in Germany teaching young children that the ultimate goal is to get rid of Judaism and Christianity. So when we say Islam doesn’t belong to Germany, we don’t mean those who have fully integrated here over decades, who are completely fine living in Germany as Germans. It’s a reaction to those politicians who stated: ‘Islam belongs to Germany’ without allowing any discussion on the topic.”

During his campaign, President-elect Donald Trump had said that he might ban Muslims temporarily from America to develop a more intense screening process so as to filter out extremist elements. Ms. Petry’s policy is also along the same lines.

Ms. Petry’s views on Refugees and migrants

Ms. Petry has been a staunch opponent of Chancellor Merkel’s refugee policy. Chancellor Merkel believes firmly in the Geneva Refugees Convention and  according to her opinion Germany should pursue “ an open-door” migrant policy and allow people from other countries who have been politically persecuted to come to Germany for asylum. Lured by the stability and the job prospects offered by Europe’s largest economy, the number of first time asylum applicants in Germany increased from 1,73,000 in 2014 to 4,42,000 in 2015.

Germany has escalated tensions with Austria as well over the refugees problem. Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern has warned Chancellor Merkel that Austria is not a “waiting room” for Germany’s open door migrant policy. The tongue-lashing of the migrant policy increased after the incidents that took place on the 2016 New Year’s eve celebrations in which German women were harassed by refugees.

“The migration crisis was the catalyst for our success,” Ms. Petry said in an interview in The Guardian. In January, 2016 Ms. Petry’s comments about border security engendered a new controversy. She had suggested that the German Border Security forces should shoot at migrants if necessary to prevent them from entering German territory.

President-elect Trump has also put a lot of emphasis on border security during his campaign. He wants to build a ”wall” along the Mexican border to prevent Mexicans from illegally entering America. Both Trump and Petry are “populists” and  they are doing nothing wrong by using the feelings of discontent among the masses because that is what a politician is all about.

Is the Ms.Petry led AfD party gaining popularity?

For a party that was formed in 2013, it is gaining popularity swiftly. Currently, it holds representation in 10 out of 16 states in Germany. In Chancellor Merkel’s hometown state, the Frauke Petry led AfD has won more votes than the Chancellor’s party. After these results, Frauke Petry is becoming increasingly confident and more violent in her stance on various issues.

The increase in public support for the likes of Donald Trump in United States of America, Frauke Petry in Germany, Marine Le Pen in France and Geert Wilders in Netherlands shows that the political and economic system prevalent in the world is not doing what needs to be done. These populist leaders still have a lot of ground to cover to become the leaders of their respective countries, but the election of Donald Trump in a country where liberty and freedom are given prime importance shows that something like this could very well happen in other places.