Opposition Vows to Block Early Elections
BONN, West Germany (AP) _ The opposition Social Democrats and their East German counterparts pledged Saturday to block a plan to hold all-German elections seven weeks earlier than planned.
In East Germany, Social Democrats threatened to pull out of Prime Minister Lothar de Maiziere’s fragile coalition government over his proposal to hold elections for a single German parliament Oct. 14 rather than Dec. 2.
Peter Kauffold, a leading member of the East German Social Democrats, said the party’s parliamentary faction plans to discuss leaving the government Tuesday, West Berlin’s Berliner Morgenpost newspaper reported.
Social Democrats in both Germanys charged that the call for earlier elections was an attempt to rig the outcome of the all-German vote in favor of Chancellor Helmut Kohl, the leader of the Christian Democrat Party.
The Social Democrats claim Kohl and his East German ally de Maiziere are calling for October elections out of fear that voters will turn against them as East Germany’s economy worsens.
Hans-Jochen Vogel, head of the West German Social Democrats, warned against any ″election manipulation″
Anke Fuchs, a leading Social Democratic lawmaker in West Germany, vowed ″All-German elections will not occur on Oct. 14.″
However, the campaign manager for Kohl’s likely challenger Social Democrat leader Oskar Lafontaine, indicated the party would consider the idea.
″We are ready to have a discussion,″ Reinhard Klimmt was quoted as saying in this week’s edition of the West German magazine, Der Spiegel. The magazine made Klimmt’s comments available in advance of publication.
Friedrich Bohl, parliamentary business chief for the West German Christian Democrats, said the Social Democrats have to seriously ask themselves whether ″they want to postpone unity and all-German elections ... in this historical hour.″
Karl-Heinz Hornhues, deputy leader of the West German Christian Democrat parliamentary faction, appealed to ″the reasonable majority″ of Social Democrats to support the push for the earlier election date.
Kohl maintains that holding the elections Oct. 14 corresponds to ″the wishes of the people″ in both Germanys. All political parties had earlier agreed to the Dec. 2 date.
The all-German vote would fuse the two countries under one government.