BONN (Oct. 17)
The extreme rightwing Republican Party, whose electoral fortunes plunged during the past year, came within a hair’s breadth of winning seats in the Bavarian legislature in last weekend’s state elections.
Computer projections gave the reputedly neo-Nazi party, headed by former SS officer Franz Schoenhuber, 5.1 to 5.2 percent of the popular vote. Five percent is necessary for getting a seat in the state parliament.
But the final vote count showed it missed with just a shade over 4.9 percent. Schoenhuber is crying foul and demands a recount.
He had been invited to the Munich television studios Sunday night, along with leaders of other parties, to comment on the Republicans’ success.
Schoenhuber said he expected the other parliamentary factions to treat his faction with the respect due a legitimate political force and “put an end to the campaign of hatred against us.”
Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who was asked in Bonn to comment on what was then the presumed success of the extremist party, observed that farright factions drew much greater popular support in other countries. “This is not an excuse, but let us not exaggerate,” he said.
Graf Lambsdorff, leader of the Free Democratic Party, played down Schoenhuber’s success. He predicted that the fragmented neo-Nazi movement would soon disintegrate.
The Republicans gained virtually no support in the five new federal states which formerly comprised East Germany.
Meanwhile, the neo-Nazi National Democratic Party announced Wednesday it would sue the Social Democratic mayor of Frankfurt, Volker Hauff, for refusing to invite NPD members to official events.
The NPD, which is represented on the City Council, contends the mayor has no authority to boycott it.
Hauff’s spokesman, Jo Meergans, said the mayor has the right to decide who will be invited to events organized by the municipality.
The NPD complained that it was excluded from an official reception celebrating German unification.
The mayor said he would continue to boycott the neo-Nazis.