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Last Updated: Friday, 14 November, 2003, 10:24 GMT
'Anti-Semitic' MP expelled
German MP Martin Hohmann
Hohmann will retain his seat in the Bundestag
Germany's Christian Democrat (CDU) opposition has voted to expel from the parliamentary party an MP accused of making an anti-Semitic speech.

The CDU's Martin Hohmann compared the actions of Jews in the 1917 Russian revolution with those of the Nazis.

Despite the expulsion vote of 195 to 28, with 16 abstentions, Mr Hohmann retains his seat in parliament.

A separate procedure to strip him of his party membership could take years, if he challenges it in court.

Mr Hohmann first sparked a furore when he suggested it might be possible to consider Jews as a "Taetervolk", or race of perpetrators, as Germans are seen, because of Jewish actions during the Bolshevik revolution.

The leadership originally resisted calls to expel Mr Hohmann, but increasing media and political pressure forced an embarrassing U-turn.

'Hard day'

The row has overshadowed the party's proposals for economic and social reforms, aimed at rivalling the government's, and came as it was enjoying being well ahead of the ruling Social Democrats in opinion polls.

The decision was the first time the CDU had expelled one of its MPs and followed a show of support from some party members upset by Mr Hohmann's treatment.

Party leader Angela Merkel said it had been a hard day for the party.

"The result is quite clear but it also shows that it was a very difficult decision in human terms for many colleagues," she told reporters. "I believe it is politically the right thing."

The BBC's Ray Furlong, in Berlin, says the result is actually quite embarrassing for the party.

He said the CDU has always argued that Mr Hohmann was an isolated case but the vote result will strengthen critics and political rivals who allege that far-right views are more widespread in the party.

A separate move to expel Mr Hohmann from the party is under way but will take much longer and be more difficult.




SEE ALSO:
German MP sorry for Jewish slur
01 Nov 03  |  Europe
Russia's revolution 85 years on
06 Nov 02  |  Europe


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