Voting Nazi in Regional Elections

From the November 2004 Trumpet Print Edition

In September, multiple news sources reported that neo-Nazis were commandeering protest rallies in eastern Germany. Their purpose: to gain broader support in regional elections.

The extremists did have an impact. The far-right National Democratic Party (npd)—which has not been represented in a regional parliament since 1968—received 9.3 percent of the vote; thus, parliamentary seats in the province of Saxony are now held by the npd for the first time in over 35 years.

Why are right-wing extremists gaining power? Officially, unemployment in eastern Germany is currently at 19 percent (though in real terms it is much higher than that), which would cause anyone to look for a change in government.

Communists and neo-Nazis alike benefit when mainstream political parties do badly. In fact, though one is far left and one is far right, they use many of the same slogans at political rallies. Both want the support of the masses of unemployed Germans, who tend to be the first in line in these elections.

This latest vote has given extra steam to the extremist movements, which are now planning a coalition for the 2006 election. Extremist parties had already agreed not to run against each other in these most recent elections, helping to make their gains possible. Udo Voigt, the npd leader, confirmed that the party is planning to include known neo-Nazis in its leadership.

The fact that Nazis are involved in the government is shocking. But the trend shows the level of frustration among the German populace.

This development also has important ramifications at the center of German politics. Though Chancellor Gerhard Schröder’s party suffered fewer losses than expected, support for opposition leader Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats plummeted. Her ability to maintain leadership of her party is definitely in question. If and when she is replaced, one name will consistently come to the forefront: the ambitious Edmund Stoiber.

Remember that the Trumpet has consistently identified the Bavarian Prime Minister as someone who should be watched closely. Though he lost the election for chancellor in 2002, he can and probably will try again in 2006. For more information, see “Continue to Watch Stoiber” and also our May 2002 cover story.