Publication: The Economist

Full Citation

  • Title Splinter Parties in Germany
  • Publication Title The Economist
  • Collection The Economist
  • Date Saturday,  July 16, 1949
  • Volume 157
  • Issue Number 5525
  • Page Number 126
  • 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.
Splinter Parties in Germany In a month's time the candidates will be elected for the Assembly of the new Federal Republic of Germany. The first round of the election campaign has already opened. One of the most important questions to be answered on August 14th will be the extent to which the numerous. small independent parties -succeed in securing representation in the Bundestag. The scales have been heavily weighted against them by the electoral law. which was framed to prevent the new govern- ment from being weakened by a large number of splinter parties. Military Government law. too. has always hindered small. neo-Nazi parties -from organising themselves. Before a party can obtain a licence. the law demands from it a specific programme and democratic elections to the executive com- mittees. Few of the neo-Nazi groups can qualify in this respect- almost without exception they are formed by a self- elected chairman. who proclaims a programme denouncing the wrongs done by the Allies to the Germans. Most appeal particularly to the refugees. the ex-soldiers and the ex-officers. Last month an attempt was made to overcome the handicap of the electoral law by organising support for independent candidates put up by any of the various nationalist groups. At the invitation of Joachim von Ostau. a well-known would-be organiser of neo-Nazi parties. about thirty individuals met at Bad Godesberg and issued an appeal to Germans not to allow themselves to be splintered into refugees and residents. have and have-nots. those who are affected by the denazification laws and those not affected.o or any of the other existing divisions. They were asked to vote for the Independents as the champions of German unity. honour and rights to which they are entitled as a decent and illustrious and highly- civilised people.o The supreme right thus claimed is the restoration of a united Reich -within its old-established frontiers.o Such appeals meet with widespread response. It was symptomatic that the Deutsche Rechtspartei. a small neo-Nazi party which was banned by the British in Lower Saxony.