Unite Germanys With Berlin as Capital, Rightist Urges


Franz Schoenhuber, leader of the far-right Republican Party, declared Monday that the two Germanys should be reunited with Berlin as the capital.

Schoenhuber outlined for the press the program that his party will take into the campaign for the general election a year or more away.

"Our party's No. 1 priority is to unify Germany, step by step," he said. "To us Republicans, Berlin will again be the legitimate capital of Germany."

The British news agency Reuters quoted sources in the ruling Christian Democratic Union as saying that Chancellor Helmut Kohl will present to Parliament today a plan for bringing about German unity in three steps.

The plan, these sources said, envisions a free vote on unity in East Germany, followed by the creation of committees in the two countries that could prepare the way for unity in key areas such as the economy. The third step of the plan would be full unity, they said.

Kohl was said to have outlined his plan Monday to parliamentary members of his party and its sister party, the Christian Social Union. Reuters quoted its sources as saying that Kohl had made it clear that German unity is not something that could happen overnight and that it would be pointless to draw up a timetable.

Earlier this year, Schoenhuber's Republicans came virtually out of nowhere to win municipal offices in West Berlin and Frankfurt, among other cities, as well as seats in the European Parliament.

The party appears to be a challenge to the ruling Christian Democrats, particularly in Bavaria, where the more conservative branch of the party has been losing ground to the far right in rural areas.

The Republicans have caused concern among the opposition Social Democrats by attracting working-class votes on the issues of law and order, immigration and reunification.

Reunification is a tenet of the West German constitution, but most leaders have called for moving gradually in that direction, with priority going to German and European stability.

"We want a reunited Germany that can sign agreements as it likes with any country it likes," Schoenhuber told reporters. "Naturally, we see ourselves as being anchored spiritually and politically in the West, but this must not mean that we are bound militarily or through a pact."

He said the goal of his party is a "bloc-free, lightly armed Germany," which would mean casting off ties with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Schoenhuber denied that he is a new Adolf Hitler. He said he could not imagine a war waged by a united Germany.

"In a time of military alliances with the Soviet Union on one side and the United States on the other, Germans, in my opinion, are the most peaceful of people," he said. "The only danger they pose is perhaps that they will be able to exert a strong economic influence."

Schoenhuber, a former television journalist who served as a sergeant in the Nazi SS, said that Germany's legal borders are still those of 1937, pending a peace treaty with its wartime enemies.

He predicted that his party will get 8% of the vote, a comfortable margin over the 5% needed for admission to Parliament.

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