German parties seek recall of far-right district mayor

The Associated Press

Berlin – German politicians from three mainstream parties scrambled Monday to recall a far-right district mayor they elected after nobody else volunteered for the job.

Following a public outcry and much hand-wringing by top officials in Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right Christian Democratic Union and two other parties said they would seek to reverse last week’s local council election.

In this Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019 photo German far right party member Stefan Jagsch stands in front of the community house in the Altenstadt-Waldsiedlung, a part of the village of Altenstadt, near Frankfurt, Germany. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the leader of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) said late Sunday the election of far-right NPD party member Jagsch needs to be reversed.

Stefan Jagsch of the far-right National Democratic Party was elected district mayor in the small Hesse town of Altenstadt-Waldsiedlung on Thursday. The post had remained vacant for weeks.

German news agency dpa reported the Christian Democrats, the center-left Social Democrats and the pro-business Free Democrats have eight of the nine local council seats – enough to oust Jagsch with the required two-thirds majority.

Local CDU member Norbert Szielasko, who voted for Jagsch, said the council elected him because “we don’t have anybody else, especially nobody young who knows how to use computers and send emails.”

Jagsch’s party, known by the acronym NPD, campaigns against immigration and has ties to far-right extremists. Recent attempts to ban the party were rejected by Germany’s highest court on the grounds that NPD wasn’t a significant political force.