• Short Summary

    THE WEST GERMAN POLITICAL CRISIS, WHICH BEGAN ON OCTOBER 27 WHEN THE FREE DEMOCRATS WALKED OUT OF THE COALITION AND LEFT THE CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATS IN A MINORITY IN THE BUNDESTAG, HAS ACCELERATED SPECULATION ON THE MOST LIKELY SUCCESSOR TO DR.

  • Description

    THE WEST GERMAN POLITICAL CRISIS, WHICH BEGAN ON OCTOBER 27 WHEN THE FREE DEMOCRATS WALKED OUT OF THE COALITION AND LEFT THE CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATS IN A MINORITY IN THE BUNDESTAG, HAS ACCELERATED SPECULATION ON THE MOST LIKELY SUCCESSOR TO DR. LUDWIG ERHARD, THE CHANCELLOR.

    THERE IS NO SHORTAGE OF POTENTIAL NEW CHANCELLORS, AND WEST GERMANY COULD BE COUNTED AS FORTUNATE IN HAVING SO MANY MEN OF HIGH QUALITY, REGARDED AS CAPABLE OF RUNNING THE COUNTRY WELL IN WHAT PROMISE TO BE DIFFICULT TIMES AHEAD.

    EARLIER THIS WEEK DR. ERHARD INDICATED THAT HE WAS READY TO RESIGN, PROVIDED THE CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATIC-CHRISTIAN SOCIAL UNION PARLIAMENTARY GROUP COULD AGREE ON HIS SUCCESSOR. AMONG THE MEN WHO HAVE BEEN MENTIONED IN WEST GERMAN POLITICAL CIRCLES AS LIKELY CANDIDATES FOR THE CHANCELLORSHIP ARE: DR. GERHARD SCHROEDER, 56- YEARS OLD FOREIGN MINISTER; DR. RAINIER BARZEL, AGED 42, AND LEADER OF THE CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATIC PARLIAMENTARY GROUP; DR. EUGEN GERSTENMAIER, 60, PRESIDENT OF THE BUNDESTAG; HERR PAUL LUECKE, 52, MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR; DR. KURT-GEORG KEISINGER, 62, PREMIER OF THE STATE OF BADEN-WURTTEMBERG, AND HERR FRANZ JOSEF STRAUSS, THE FORMER DEFENCE MINISTER.

    DR. ERHARD'S POSITION IS BOTH UNUSUAL AND UNENVIABLE. CONSTITUTIONALLY, HIS POSITION AS MINORITY CHANCELLOR IS IN ORDER, EVEN IF IT IS UNCOMFORTABLE POLITICALLY. FOR A TIME HE COULD EVEN LEGISLATE WITHOUT THE BUNDESTAG ON MATTERS OF URGENCY -- PROVIDING HE GOT THE APPROVAL OF PRESIDENT HEINRICH LUEBKE AND THE CONCURRENCE OF THE UPPER CHAMBER. IN THEORY, DR. ERHARD COULD CARRY ON EVEN IF THE CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATS ALSO DECIDED TO WITHDRAW THEIR MINISTERS FROM THE CABINET. A DISSOLUTION OF THE BUNDESTAG IS IMPOSSIBLE AGAINST HIS WILL. UNLESS HE RESIGNED, DR. ERHARD COULD ONLY BE SUPPLANTED IF MORE THAN HALF THE MEMBERS OF THE BUNDESTAG JOINED FORCES BEHIND ANOTHER MAN.

    DR. BARZEL IS PROBABLY THE FAVOURITE WITHIN HIS OWN PARTY, AND SUPPORT FOR HIM FROM HERR STRAUSS WOULD STRENGTHEN HIS CLAIM. THIS IS BECAUSE HERR STRAUSS WOULD BE ALMOST CERTAIN TO SWAY THE BAVARIAN VOTE WITHIN THE PARTY.

    EARLIER THIS YEAR, DR. BARZEL PROPOSED AN UNORTHODOX SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM OF A DIVIDED GERMANY. HE SUGGESTED ECONOMIC CONCESSIONS TO THE SOVIET UNION, AND AN ARRANGEMENT TO ALLOW SOVIET TROOPS TO BE STATIONED IN A RE-UNIFIED GERMANY. BUT THIS WAS SHOUTED DOWN BY HIS OWN PARTY.

    PERHAPS THE STRONGEST RIVAL TO DR. BARZEL IS FOREIGN MINISTER SCHROEDER, WHO HAS HELD THE OFFICE SINCE 1961. HE WAS PREVIOUSLY MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR FOR EIGHT YEARS, AND IS WELL VERSED IN THE POLITICAL PROBLEMS WHICH WILL FACE THE COUNTRY EVEN IF THE PRESENT CRISIS IS OVERCOME. HOWEVER THERE ARE WIDE POLITICAL DIFFERENCES BETWEEN DR. SCHROEDER AND HERR STRAUSS.

    DR. GERSTENMAIER IS A POSSIBLE HEAD OF A "GRAND COALITION", ALTHOUGH IT CAUSED SOMETHING OF A SENSATION LAST MONTH WHEN HE INDICATED THAT HE WOULD BE INVOLVED IN THE RUNNING FOR A VACANT CHANCELLORSHIP. HE HAS BEEN PRESIDENT OF THE BUNDESTAG SINCE 1954, AND IS ONE OF THE FEW TOP MEN IN CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATIC POLITICS TO HAVE BEEN ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN THE 1944 BOMB PLOT AGAINST HITLER. A DOCTOR OF DIVINITY, DR. GERSTENMAIER HAS BEEN THE PARTY SPOKESMAN WHEN SPEECHES OF HIGH PRINCIPLE WERE CALLED FOR. HE COULD EMERGE AS LEADER OF A "GRAND COALITION" OF CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATS AND SOCIAL DEMOCRATS, ALTHOUGH SUCH AN ALLIANCE IS NOT REGARDED AS PROBABLE.

    A RELATIVELY "DARK-HORSE", FOR WHOM THERE APPEARED TO BE STRONG SUPPORT RECENTLY, IS DR. KEISINGER, THE HANDSOME, GREY-HAIRED PREMIER OF BADEN-WURTTEMBERG. A FIRST-CLASS SPEAKER, DR. KEISINGER'S MAIN STRENGTH IS IN THE ROMAN CATHOLIC SOUTH.

    HERR LUECKE, WHO IS CLEARLY ALIGNED WITH THE LEFT WING OF THE PARTY, IS A CANDIDATE FAVOURED BY WEST GERMAN INDUSTRY, AND WOULD BE BIDDING FOR SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC FAVOUR.

    THE CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATS ARE FACED WITH A CHOICE OF EXTREME DIFFICULTY. IN APPROVING ANY EFFECTIVE SUCCESSOR TO DR. ERHARD THE CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATS WILL HAVE TO COME TO AN ARRANGEMENT EITHER WITH THE SOCIAL DEMOCRATS, OR WITH THE FREE DEMOCRATS -- THEIR PARTNERS IN ALL BUT ONE GOVERNMENT SINCE 1949.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA6ZKOPID3DVLDS4DDAODF0NUJN
    Media URN:
    VLVA6ZKOPID3DVLDS4DDAODF0NUJN
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    05/11/1966
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:01:53:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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