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Germany

Schröder Warns Against Right-Wing Parties

German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder over the weekend warned against the rise of right-wing extremist parties in eastern German state elections in Brandenburg and Saxony. "Anything connected to the brown sump," he said referring to the Nazis, "damages us, damages Germany and damages us with foreign investors." He told public broadcasters RBB Inforadio that any voter gains by right-wing parties would be a "big problem." Angela Merkel, head of the opposition Christian Democratic Union, offered a similar warning, saying, "it would be good for Saxony's reputation if as many people as possible got out and voted democratically." According to the latest polls, both the right-wing National Party (NPD) and German People's Union (DVU) parties appear set to clear the 5 percent hurdle needed to gain seats in the state parliaments in both states. Just one week ago, the NPD scored 4 percent of the votes in the western German state of Saarland. The parties are profiting from voter discontentment over a string of labor market reforms recently passed by the federal government.

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