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Neo-nazi Elected to Bremen Parliament

A candidate of a neo-Nazi party won a seat in the Parliament of he federal state of Bremen in northern Germany Sunday, to the surprise and consternation of liberals and conservatives alike. Hans Alterman, a rightwing extremist, represented the Deutsche Volksunion (DVU), a party headed by neo-Nazi Gerhard Frey. Frey publishes the Munich-based weekly Nazional Zeitung which claims to have “scientific” proof that the Holocaust was a fiction and the gas chambers “Zionist propaganda.”

Immediately after Sunday’s election, representatives of all factions in the Buergerschaft (State Parliament) held a joint press conference at which they vowed to stand firm against Alterman’s ideas. Bremen Prime Minister Klaus Wedemeier of the Social Democratic Party banned Alterman from entering municipal headquarters, though he will have access to Parliament in a separate building.

The DVU won 3.5 percent of the vote Sunday, 1.5 percent short of the minimum needed for representation in the State Parliament. But the Bremen constitution states it is sufficient for a party to obtain five percent of the popular vote in just one of the two municipalities comprising the State. The neo-Nazis drew a striking 8.5 percent of the popular vote in Bremerhaven, Bremen’s deep-water seaport at the mouth of the Weser.

Franz-Josef Strauss, the conservative Bavarian leader, said in Munich Monday that the liberal policies of Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) allowed rightwing extremists to score gains with conservative voters. Strauss heads the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party of the CDU. But of late he has been at odds with Kohl on a number of issues.

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