BONN (Jun. 15)
The far-right German Republican Party has re-elected Franz Schoenhuber, a former Waffen SS officer, as its leader of another term.
The group, which held its national convention in the Bavarian town of Dickeburg, also said it is willing to compromise on various issues in order to be in a position to share power with other, bigger parties.
Schoenhuber was re-elected party leader last year, too, placing him in a stronger position to deal with internal opposition, which had managed to briefly oust him in 1990.
Schoenhuber, who drew a majority of more than 90 percent of this year’s vote, told delegates that the party’s major aim was to influence future policies in Bonn. To that end, he added, the group had to show flexibility and demonstrate pragmatic attitudes.
The Republican leader thus alluded to the possibility that his group would join a coalition with conservative and right-of-center parties sometime in the future.
But such a possibility has been strongly opposed within the Christian Democratic Union, the only potential candidate for such coalitions.
Last year, the Munich-based Republican Party was estimated to have 20,000 members countrywide. At the time, Schoenhuber promised to increase the membership.
In regional elections in April, the Republicans drew 10.9 percent of the popular vote in the federal state of Baden-Wurtemberg. This qualified the extremist party for $1.5 million in public funds.
The party, which had only 2,300 registered voters in Baden-Wurtemberg preceding the elections there, compiled 538,866 votes, rendering it the third-largest political faction in the southern German state.
On June 11, some 3,000 mostly leftist activists demonstrated against the Republicans, warning that the party is influenced by Nazi ideology.