Social Democratic Victory– Healthy Turn in Germany

Social Democratic Victory– Healthy Turn in Germany

THE WEST GERMAN ELECTION this past September could mark a turning point in the political history of a country dominated, since its inception, by conservative forces. A positive answer has been given to two important questions:

(1) whether the strategy of the Social Democrats (SPD), evolved three years ago, of joining the Christian Democrats (CDU) in a “Great Coalition” would pay off in a sufficiently increased vote to dislodge the CDU from the government;

(2) whether the vote for the NPD, the neoNazi party, could be kept below the 5 percent needed to enter the Bonn parliament.

A major contributing factor was the recent turn toward the Left by the small but decisive Free Democratic party (FDP), at the cost of most of its conservative vote. Under its progressive new leader, Walter Scheel, it had earlier assured the election of the SPD’s highly respected Gustav Heinemann to the Presidency of West Germany. This parliamentary vote foreshadowed the formation of a fairly homogeneous “Small Coalition” of SPD and FDP.