An extreme rightist party won seven City Council seats in Frankfurt on Sunday in municipal elections in the state of Hesse that dealt a crushing defeat to Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s Christian Democrats.
The extreme-right National Democratic Party took 6.6% of the vote, according to preliminary results, winning representation in Frankfurt’s city government for the first time since 1968.
On Jan. 29, another far-right party, the Republicans, 7.5% of the vote and 11 seats in West Berlin’s legislature.
Both parties want to sharply reduce the number of foreigners in West Germany, and their success marks a significant shift to the right among a growing number of voters.
Much like the Republicans, the Frankfurt National Democratic Party led its campaign with calls of “stop foreigners” and “Germany for the Germans.”
Foreign Workers Blamed
It blames foreign workers, petitioners for asylum and ethnic German refugees from Eastern Europe for a high level of drug-related crime and a housing shortage in Frankfurt. One-quarter of the city’s 620,000 inhabitants are foreign, the highest proportion of any city in West Germany.
“One thinks more nationally today,” said NPD city parliament candidate Winfried Krauss, who credited “the flood of foreigners” for his party’s gain.
The outcome in Frankfurt appeared to pave the way for a leftist coalition in Frankfurt between the Social Democrats and the environmentalist Greens.
A similar coalition is expected to start governing in West Berlin next week after an agreement between the Social Democrats and the Alternative List, a leftist party similar to the Greens.
The outcome ousted Frankfurt’s Christian Democratic Mayor Wolfram Brueck, who will be replaced by Social Democrat Volker Hauff, a 48-year-old former federal transport minister.
About two hours after the preliminary results of the vote became known, several hundred people demonstrated in front of the city hall against the National Democrats. Police reported no incidents.
Worst Route in Frankfurt
Kohl’s conservatives suffered heavy losses in other municipalities in Hesse state, but their worst rout came in Frankfurt, where they had governed alone since 1977.
Preliminary results from the official state voting office, based on computer projections, gave the Christian Democrats 36.6% of the Frankfurt vote. That dropped their representation in city government from 48 to 36 seats in the 93-seat city legislature.
The leftist Social Democrats, the mainstream opposition party, won 40.1% and 40 seats, up from 37 seats won after 1985 elections. The Greens won 10.1% and 10 seats, up from eight previously.
The National Democrats did not run in the 1985 elections.
The leftist Greens also scored major gains in the rest of Hesse state, where 4.1 million voters were eligible to vote.