The far right has made startling gains in regional elections in Germany as former communists made advances around Berlin, but parties of the centre clung to power with reduced support.
The anti-immigrant Nationalist Democratic Party (NPD) won 9 per cent of the vote in Saxony, almost equal to the vote for the Social Democrats of the Chancellor, Gerhard Schroder.
The Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) took 28 per cent of the vote in Brandenburg, its best ever showing in a state election. Eastern German resentment at high unemployment and welfare cuts undermined support for Mr Schroder's Social Democratic Party (SPD) and the main opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU).
Whereas the CDU has profited from past discontent with Mr Schroder, it too was punished this time for its support for pro-business reforms. The CDU lost its absolute majority in industrialised Saxony.
The gains by the NPD, which had been semi-extinct since its heyday in West Germany 36 years ago, shocked Paul Spiegel, president of Germany's National Council of Jews, who said it was a symptom of the failures of mainstream politicians.
"Memories of the end of the Weimar Republic are awakened," Mr Spiegel said.
"A party that makes anti-Semitic and xenophobic propaganda doesn't belong in any parliament."
It was the first time the NPD had gained seats in a German state parliament since its heyday in 1968, when it was briefly represented in seven state parliaments before a decline set in.
In Brandenburg, support for another right-wing group, the German People's Union (DVU), was stable at 6 per cent. The DVU and NPD had made a territorial pact to avoid splitting the far-right vote, since a party cannot gain seats unless it wins at least 5 per cent support.
In Brandenburg, a constituency composed of the outer suburbs and rural environs of Berlin, the main shift was to the left rather than the right, with PDS support advancing by 5 per cent.
The former communists, who have overcome pariah status to enter coalitions elsewhere in Germany with the SPD, also secured a stable 23 per cent in Saxony, but have no chance of being invited to join a CDU-led government.
Federally the vote will make little difference to Mr Schroder's tenuous hold on power. His government's legislation is often blocked by the CDU-dominated upper house, the Bundesrat.
"Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst."
Posted 21 September 2004 - 04:06 AM
Nazi's...I hate those guys...
Too many people on both sides of the spectrum have fallen into this mentality that a full one half of the country are the enemy for having different beliefs...in a country based on freedom of expression. It is this infighting that allows the focus to be taken away from "we the people" being able to watch, and have control over government corruption and ineptitude that is running rampant in our leadership.
People should be working towards fixing problems, not creating them.
i agree fluffybunny. if it wasn't for the fact that it would go against my pacifist beliefs, i would kill them all. you should see the nazi's we have in perth, not that long ago they went and wwrote anti-semetic graffiti on a synagogue.
And you run and you run to catch up with the sun, but it's sinking. Racing around to come up behind you again. The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older. Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.
Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy as hell.- Maca02
All it takes for evil to triumph, is for good people to do nothing.
Posted 21 September 2004 - 05:17 AM
Ditto fluffy and pheenix! If only we could round them all up and extremiante them all just like earlier nazis did to all those innocent people not too long ago. Anyone who believes or is part of nazism is a disgrace.