BONN (Sep. 30)
The extreme right-wing National Democratic Party polled 5.2 percent of the vote in Lower Saxony’s elections yesterday. It was the first time the reputedly neo-Nazi party participated in county and local elections and apparently its first setback, according to political observers here. They noted that it failed to maintain the seven percent of the vote it won in the statewide elections in Lower Saxony last year and was far behind the 9.8 percent polled in the elections for the Baden-Wurttemburg state parliament last spring.
Based on returns from 60 out of 75 districts. Sunday’s vote will give the NPD 78 out of 1,791 seats in various county and village legislatures. The Social Democrats won 42 percent, the Christian Democrats 39.2 percent, and the Free Democrats 9.1 percent. An NPD spokesman conceded that the party had not won a “victory” but said “we are satisfied.” He attributed the results to fears that “the Russians would come in if people voted for the NPD.”
(Although the elections were on a local level in a single West German state, the results were followed with considerable interest abroad as a possible bellwether of next year’s Federal Republic national elections. The London Daily Telegraph said that the outcome was a “bad omen” for the NPD whose chairman, Adolf von Thadden, has predicted at least 10 percent of the nationwide vote in 1969. That estimate would give the NPD about 50 seats in the Bundestag (lower house). But it now appears that the party is hardly able to overcome the five percent hurdle needed to gain parliamentary seats, the paper said.
(Mayor Karl Schutz of West Berlin, said in a radio broadcast yesterday that the city would seek a ban on the NPD which he called a successor to the Nazi Party. He said he hoped the West German states would take a decision soon about the NPD “in the interests of Berlin.” The NPD plans to hold a convention in the city soon.)