Baltic Whackjobs18 Sep 2006
In elections yesterday in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the poorest German state, the far-right National Democratic Party earned 7.3% of the vote, enough to enter parliament. As always when the far-right does well in an election, there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth in the German media. Doug Merrill at A Fistful of Euros is not quite so hysterical:
On the whole, though, Id be cautiously optimistic... in a state with 18 percent unemployment, the extremist vote was below 10 percent. ... the far right has ebbed and flowed throughout the postwar period, and its never gotten anywhere close to a share of power at the national level... (finally) the far right tends to fractiousness, as the disintegration of the NPD parliamentary party in Saxony in late 2005 most recently showed.
One in 14 voters in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is willing to cast a ballot for right-wing whackjobs. That, for better or for worse, is probably not too far from the European norm.
Neo-Nazis aren't interested in politics, they just like the sound of their own voice. I'd be more worried about the low turnout (59.2%), which means a good share of the voters aren't interested in politics either.