West Germans streamed to voting stations on sunday (19 November) and swept Chancellor Willy Brandt's left-liberal coalition government back to power with a comfortably increased majority.
West Germans streamed to voting stations on sunday (19 November) and swept Chancellor Willy Brandt's left-liberal coalition government back to power with a comfortably increased majority. His Christian Democratic (CDU) opponent, Dr. Rainer Barzel, conceded defeat a little over two hours after polling ended.
The election victory for Chancellor Brandt is seen as a popular vote of confidence in him personally and an endorsement of his "Ostpolitik" policy of cultivating better relations with the Soviet Union and communist Eastern Europe.
The 58-year-old Social Democrat's government came to grief in Parliament because of defections over the Ostpolitik after only three years in office. He vowed that he would go to the country and obtain the vote of confidence denied to him in Parliament.
Now that he has own, the way is clear to implement the series of major treaties he has signed with Eastern Europe. These treaties started with the historic Moscow Pact of 1970 and culminated in the treaty initiated on 8 November, with East Germany, that acknowledges the existence of two separate German states.
Voting in West Germany got off to a slow start on Sunday, because of the wintry conditions. But the momentum of polling picked up and by noon nearly 40 per cent of the country's 40,800,000 eligible voters had cast their ballots. Chancellor Brandt and his wife voted early at a local school in the fashionable Bonn suburb of Venusberg.