September 18, 2006


Neo-Nazis Enter State Assembly (Der Spiegel, 9/18/06)

Germany's far-right National Democratic Party, which wants to repatriate foreigners and believes Germany should stop atoning for the Holocaust, won seats in a state parliament on Sunday in the former communist east, tapping into general discontent with Chancellor Angela Merkel's government and with the depressed local economy.

The neo-Nazi NPD won 7.3 percent in Chancellor Angela Merkel's home state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania on the Baltic Sea coast, vaulting the 5 percent threshold needed to enter the assembly, according to preliminary official figures.

The result means far-right parties are now represented in three of eastern Germany's five state parliaments. The NPD entered the Saxony state parliament in 2004 and another far-right party, the German People's Union (DVU), has seats in Brandenburg, which surrounds Berlin.

"The fight for Germany continues," NPD chairman Udo Voigt said in a video statement on the party's website, noting that far right has gained a foothold in a quarter of Germany's 16 state parliaments. [...]

General discontent in the east, which has suffered from depopulation and mass unemployment in the almost 17 years since unification, has fuelled support for fringe parties, especially the far right, which has been wooing bored young voters through rock concerts and local festivals. Election data showed 15 pct of 18 to 24 year olds voted NPD in Mecklenburg.

The NPD has also exploited xenophobic attitudes in east, where many blame immigrants for their economic problems.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 18, 2006 12:00 AM
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