The unanimous election of a member of a neo-Nazi party as the head of a local council in western Germany has provoked an outcry among German political parties and calls for the election to be annulled.
Stefan Jagsch, a member of the ultra-nationalist National Democratic Party (NPD), was elected as head of the Waldsiedlung Town Council, a town of 2500 inhabitants in the district of Altenstadt, 30 kilometers northeast of Frankfurt on Thursday. His election was supported by local members of the CDU, the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, SPD (Social Democrats) and the liberal FDP, prompting questions as to how he managed to win such broad-based support.
Stefan Jagsch “filled the void” created because no other candidates had put themselves forward for the position, said Markus Brando, SPD chairman for Altenstadt, told local media.
The CDU and the SPD are now studying whether the decision of the local council can be reversed.
Jagsch, 33, had been a member of the Waldsiedlung Local Council for thirteen years and belongs to the NPD leadership in Hesse, where he also serves as party treasurer.
He rose to fame three years ago, when two Syrian refugees assisted him after suffering an accident in which he was injured, but then refused to thank him.
The extreme right has made its presence felt in recent German elections, including regional votes held last week in Saxony and Brandenburg where the AfD party came second the CDU and SPD respectively, winning 27.5 percent of the vote in Saxony and 23.5 percent in Brandenburg.
However, it did not reach enough votes to overthrow the coalitions that govern those state.
More extreme than the AfD, the neo-Nazi NDP was deemed anti-democratic by the German Constitutional Court in 2017, but chose not to ban the party because it lacks the capacity to threaten the rule of law.