German Euro Foes to Found Party in Merkel Election Challenge

German economists and former politicians plan to start up an anti-euro party that challenges Chancellor Angela Merkel’s support for euro-area financial bailouts in the country’s Sept. 22 election.

The party, to be called “Alternative for Germany,” will hold its inaugural event in April, Joachim Starbatty, a University of Tuebingen economist who backs the initiative, said in a telephone interview today.

The party will “demand the dissolution of the euro in favor of national currencies or smaller currency alliances,” according to the initiative’s website. Policy makers should lighten the debt of euro-area countries through “orderly sovereign insolvency,” with private creditors paying the cost.

Starbatty and law professor Karl Schachtschneider, another backer of “Alternative for Germany,” lost a bid in 2011 to get the nation’s constitutional court to stop German participation in the 110 billion-euro ($143 billion) first bailout for Greece. Other supporters include Hans-Olaf Henkel, the former head of Germany’s BDI industry association, and Bernd Lucke, an economist at Hamburg University.

The party would be at least the second in Germany to try to channel public anger at bailouts for Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain. Merkel’s Christian Democrat-led coalition backed the rescues with the support of the two biggest opposition parties in parliament, the Social Democrats and Greens. The Free Voters party, which doesn’t have seats in the federal parliament, has also made the debt crisis a theme of its 2013 campaign.

In response to the challenges to Merkel’s crisis policy, the Federal Constitutional Court has limited her leeway in EU bailouts in at least three rulings. Last June, the court said the government must give lawmakers a say on European Union integration, which also covers the European Stability Mechanism, the euro area’s permanent rescue fund.

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