BONN (Jun. 21)
The unexpected success of the extreme right-wing Republican Party in Sunday’s elections to the Parliament of Europe has sent shockwaves through the political community here.
West Germany’s Jewish community has expressed grave concern.
The Republicans, headed by former Waffen SS official Franz Schoenhuber, won 7.1 percent of the popular vote to emerge as the fourth largest political party representing the Federal Republic.
Many here see the outcome of the European Parliament elections as a preview of how the parties will fare in Germany’s national elections next year.
The nightmare scenario, which pollsters and political analysts affirm as a possibility, is the Republicans’ penetration of the Bundestag, West Germany’s parliament, in the general elections, which are scheduled for the end of 1990.
To do so, they need only repeat or improve on Sunday’s performance.
West German Jewish leaders who met here Monday with visiting Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Arens expressed dismay over the Republicans’ success.
They told Arens that if the extremist party is not stopped soon, it could become a major force in shaping Germany’s foreign and domestic policies.
More than 2 million Germans cast their ballots Sunday for the Republicans, who campaigned on a platform of extreme nationalism and xenophobia.
That was more than voted for the Free Democratic Party, the junior partner in Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s governing coalition.
DRIFTING TOWARD WEIMAR SITUATION?
Kohl vowed Monday he would never form a coalition with the Republicans and announced a series of measures to counter the apparent neo-Nazi upsurge in West Germany.
But Schoenhuber claimed Tuesday that several members of Kohl’s Christian Democratic Union and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union, have offered to cooperate with him.
Hans-Jochen Vogel, leader of the opposition Social Democratic Party, seemed to bear him out. He charged that the chancellor’s rejection of a coalition with Schoenhuber was unconvincing, because other CDU officials were publicly expressing support for the right-wing extremists.
Several newspapers, commenting on the elections, warned that the country could be drifting toward a Weimar situation.
The moderate Weimar government, formed after World War I, was eventually undermined by the Nazis and by conservatives and militarists who cooperated with Hitler.
Sunday’s election results made the Republicans eligible for some $8 million in state funds.
Another extreme right-wing group, the German People’s Union (DVU), won 1.6 percent of the popular vote.
The DVU is headed by Gerhard Frey, publisher of a Munich newspaper that contends that the Holocaust never occurred. While it fell far short of the 5 percent needed to enter the European Parliament, it is eligible for a $1.85 million state grant.