“Do even more church youth work”

The extreme right-wing NPD will enter the Schwerin state parliament again. According to preliminary results, it received six percent of the vote in Sunday's state election (2006: 7.3 percent) and is expected to be represented by five deputies (previously six) in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania's 71-member state parliament in the new legislative period. Especially in the eastern part of the state, the NPD was able to defend its electoral strongholds. According to Pomeranian Bishop Hans-Jurgen Abromeit, the NPD would not be back in the state parliament if all eligible voters had voted.

epd: Bishop Abromeit, in the run-up to the state elections, the churches had also called for people to go to the polls and vote for the democratic parties. What went wrong that the NPD's re-entry could not be prevented?

Hans-Jurgen Abromeit: Unfortunately, churches, celebrities and democratic parties have not succeeded in changing the basic problem that only every second person entitled to vote also votes. That's why the small number of right-wing extremist voters managed to get the NPD into the state parliament. In the state there is a sediment of about three percent of the total population, who are not protest voters, but regular voters of the NPD. If all eligible voters had voted, the NPD would not be back in the state parliament.

epd: What conclusions must be drawn from this??

Hans-Jurgen Abromeit: Parties in the country need to accept right-wing extremism much more as a challenge, a field of activity. NPD election posters hung almost everywhere in the villages of Ostvorpommern and Uecker-Randow, while the democratic parties largely did not even manage to hang their posters there. We must not leave the districts of Ostvorpommern and Uecker-Randow to their own devices. The democratic parties must get more involved.

epd: Where do you see the urgent tasks of the churches for the next few years in this context??

Hans-Jurgen Abromeit: Churches need to do more youth work. In rural areas in particular, there are often no longer any youth work opportunities, not even church ones. As a church, we need more employees and new ideas. To be able to finance this, additional funds must be raised from foundations as well as gained through the redeployment of church funds. In the Pasewalk church district, we have already hired an employee for youth work at the church district level for the first time in years. But that is not enough.

 

The interview was conducted by Anne-Dorle Hoffgaard.

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