BONN (Jan. 31)
By virtue of its having won seats in the West Berlin legislature on Sunday, the neo-Nazi Republican Party will now also be represented in the Bundestag, West Germany’s parliament.
That news added to the widely felt shock and dismay over the surprisingly strong showing of the far right-wing party, headed by a former SS officer, 66-year-old Franz Schoenhuber.
The Republicans won 7.5 percent of the popular vote in the West Berlin elections, giving them 11 seats in the 128-seat city parliament.
West Berlin is represented in the Bundestag by delegates chosen from its legislature, apportioned according to party strength.
That will give the Republicans two seats in the national parliament, although its constituency in the Federal Republic is minuscule.
The unexpected showing by the Republicans could pose a dilemma for the three Western occupying powers — Britain, France and the United States — which still formally administer West Berlin.
In the past, they have banned extreme rightwing parties, such as the National Democratic Party which enjoyed a brief ascendancy in the late 1960s.
Apparently the Allied powers had considered the Republicans to be of no consequence in city politics.
Their surprise election to the legislature triggered a fierce reaction. Some 10,000 protesters marched through the streets of West Berlin on Monday night carrying banners reading “Nazis Out” and “No More Fascism.”
Many Jews were among the marchers who included moderates, leftists, trade unionists and students.
Heinz Galinski, chairman of West Germany’s Jewish community, said Tuesday he was “disappointed and shocked” by the West Berlin election results.