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Germany

Germany's Sorbs Form Own Party

The Sorbs -- a 60,000-strong Slavic minority in eastern Germany -- founded their own political party in Cottbus in the eastern German state of Brandenburg over the weekend. The 12 founding members of "Serbska Ludowo Strono" or "Sorbian People's Party" on Saturday elected 34-year-old Hannes Kell, an investment consultant, as chairman. The new party will be the political arm of the Sorbian councils grouped under the umbrella organization called Domowina. Kell said on Monday that the party was hoping to attract around 100 members by the end of the year. Kell added that party was modeled on the lines of the Danish minority party SSW in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein -- which briefly became a decisive factor in forming a post election coalition government -- and said it wanted to gain more political clout for the Sorbs in the eastern German states of Brandenburg and Saxony. Kell has in the past argued that the Sorbs are viewed as a mere folklore ensemble entitled to appear at cultural events in the region and called for more political influence to make sure that Sorbian traditions are preserved.

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