Party Re-elects German Extremist

Franz Schoenhuber, recently ousted leader of West Germany’s extreme right-wing Republican Party, made a surprise comeback Sunday night at the party’s convention in the Bavarian town of Ruhstorf.

But the former Waffen SS officer’s re-election to the office of party chairman was at the expense of a serious split in the party, which many in Germany consider to be neo-Nazi.

Schoenhuber’s chief rival, Harald Neubauer, walked out of the meeting hall with a group of supporters after the decisive vote was taken. He charged the election was manipulated.

Schoenhuber urged his followers to exercise restraint and promised to work to “heal the wounds” within the party.

But many observers say the Republicans face a major crisis.

The power struggle that resulted in the unseating of Schoenhuber less than three months ago followed a series of defeats in local and regional elections during the past year.

Before that, the Republicans were acknowledged to be the most successful party ever to emerge on far right in West Germany.

They polled about 8 percent of the popular vote in the 1989 general elections to the Parliament of Europe.

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