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Friday, June 26, 1998 Published at 15:56 GMT 16:56 UK

World: Europe

German parties 'appealing to the far right'

Edmund Stoiber: foreigners abusing the right to stay should be deported

The German political party, the Christian Social Union - sister party to Chancellor Helmut Kohl's Christian Democratic Union - launches its campaign for September's election this weekend.

A central platform of its strategy will be a tough stance on immigration and it is more than ready to deal with what it sees as unwelcome foreigners.

In response to a recent case in Bavaria where a 13-year-old Turkish boy was accused of a series of crimes, the party invoked powers to have not just the boy, but his entire family deported.

BBC News' Janet Barrie: Foreigners are a big political issue in the German election
The boy at the centre of the affair is accused of vandalism and attacking his classmates.

He was born and brought up in Germany, his parents have lived and worked Germany for 30 years, yet under German nationality laws they are not considered to be German citizens and they are now threatened with deportation for the misdemeanours of their son.

The family is appealing against the move. Their lawyer Alexander Eberth says that the boy's father is bewildered and angry that he could be treated in this way.

"He paid his tax, he's not one of those foreign people who came to the country and the Germans had to pay for everything. He couldn't understand how the state could react against him like it did," he said.

[ image: Mehmet:  'poses a danger to the people of Munich']
Mehmet: 'poses a danger to the people of Munich'
But Munich Town Council member Hans-Peter Uhl says it is quite clear: the family has failed to integrate into Germany's society; they pose a danger to the people of Munich. Mehmet, the teenager at the heart of the row, he says, is costing the taxpayer too much money.

The CSU is seeking greater freedom to deport the families of young, foreign criminals as part of what it claims is a fight against the rising crime in the state.

Foreigners have become very much a political issue in this election - only last week a law was passed to reduce the amount of welfare paid to asylum seekers, a move that was widely condemned as electioneering by human rights groups.

Even the nominally centre-left SPD has spoken out against 'criminal foreigners'.

[ image: Mehmet's parents: facing expulsion after 30 years]
Mehmet's parents: facing expulsion after 30 years
Edmund Stoiber, the Bavarian state premier, claims that his party is simply reflecting the mood of the people. He claims that 80% of Bavarians would say that, if foreigners abuse the right to stay, they should be sent home, even if they have been here for 30 years.

His party says swift justice for foreign criminals will stem the tide of racism in Germany.

BBC News' Janet Barrie reports from a CSU rally in Bavaria
Civil rights activists are appalled that the mainstream parties seem to be adopting the policies of the far right, even if they do claim a popular mandate.

Human rights activist Wolf-Dieter Narr says that the parties are also dealing in double standards.

"We have a lot of noise in Germany about the importance of family and family policy, but as far as foreigners are concerned family doesn't count, even kids don't count," he said.

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