Publication: The Economist

Full Citation

  • Title The Elections in Saxony
  • Publication Title The Economist
  • Collection The Economist
  • Date Saturday,  Sept. 7, 1946
  • Volume 151
  • Issue Number 5376
  • Page Number 372
  • Place of Publication London, England
  • Language English
  • Document Type Article
  • Publication Section News
  • Source Library The Economist Newspaper Limited
  • Copyright Statement © The Economist Newspaper Limited.
The Elections in Saxony The results of the borough and parish council elections in Saxony are of considerable interest as indications of the political development going on in the Russian zone of Germany. Apart from three small -splinter groups. there were three political parties putting up candidates-the Socialist Unity Party. recently formed by the amalgamation of the Communist and Social Demo- crat parties in the Russian zone. the Liberal Democratic Party and the Christian Democratic Union. In the final count the Socialist Unity Party obtained 48.42 per cent of the votes. the Liberal Democrats 20.21 per cent. the Christian Democrats 19.72 and there were 9.81 per cent spoiled ballot papers. The election appears to have been free except insofar as the Socialist Unity Party enjoys certain facilities for organisa- tion and propaganda not shared by the other parties in the Russian zone. The success of the Socialist Unity Party cannot be considered as marking a radical swing of political allegiance in view of the strength of the Social Democrat and Communist parties. added together. under the Weimar Republic. The problem in the present situation. however. is to determine how many persons who would have voted Social Democrat have given their votes to the Socialist Unity Party. in which the Social Democrat party was only merged under the strongest pressure from the Russian occupation authorities. It seems probable that many Social Democrats were among those who spoiled their ballot papers. this advice having been given to submerged sympa- thisers in the Russian zone by the Social Democrat party organi- sation still maintaining its separate existence in Berlin. Other former Social Democrats are believed to have given their votes to the Liberal Democrats or Christian Democrats. and apparently more to the former than to the latter this is at first sight remark- able. as the Liberal Democrats are the more bourgeois of these two parties. but to an old-fashioned German Social Democrat. as to a French Socialist. clericalism often appears more repellent than capitalism. It is worthy of notice how little so far the Russians have inter- fered in German local politics. The intimidation which has been practised has been at the expense of the Social Democrats. in order to unify the German socialist labour movement. but the middle-class parties have been more or less left alone. Their turn may come later. But the present aim appears to be to build up a majority for the Communist-dominated Socialist Unity Party without overt measures of suppression against the bourgeois parties. which are in any case quite docile.