• Short Summary

    West Germans go to the polls on Sunday (5 October) with the latest statistics indicating that Mr Helmut Schmidt will almost certainly be re-elected Chancellor for another four-year term.

  • Description

    GVs West German youth jogging and riding bicycles in Social Democratic Party commercial (2 shots)

    GV Commercial continues with graphic display of faces dissolving into faces of Chairman of SDP Willy Brandt and Chancellor, Helmut Schmidt

    GV Deputy Chancellor and Free Democratic Party chairman Hans-Dietrich Genscher signing treaty with Chinese Foreign Minister Huang Hua (2 shots)

    SV Chairman Hua Guofeng and Chancellor Schmidt looking on as treaties exchanged (2 shots)

    GV Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev greeting Chancellor Schmidt and Deputy Chancellor Genscher at the Kremlin

    GV President Brezhnev takes seat at conference table beside Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko

    SV Chancellor Schmidt and Mr Genscher at conference table (2 shots)

    SV Chinese Chairman Hua Guofeng greeted in Bavaria by Premier of Bavaria and opposition candidate, leader of the Christian Democratic Union, Franz-Josef Strauss

    GV Bavarian farmer riding tractor into courtyard

    GVs Chairman of the Christian Social Union, Helmut Kohl acknowledging supporters at rally (3 shots)

    GV Mr Strauss arriving at rally and applauded by supporters (3 shots)

    SV, LV & GVs Anti-nuclear campaigners at rally (5 shots)

    SV Chairman Hua and Chancellor Schmidt toasting each other at meeting

    Initials AM/


    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: West Germans go to the polls on Sunday (5 October) with the latest statistics indicating that Mr Helmut Schmidt will almost certainly be re-elected Chancellor for another four-year term. He will be challenged by the Prime Minister of Bavaria and leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Mr Franz-Josef Strauss. The campaign, according to some political commentators, has been the most personal in recent West German history. Mr Strauss has delivered biting attacks on the Schmidt record and labelled him a hand-maiden of Moscow. Mr Schmidt has replied by casting doubt on Mr Strauss's ability to control his actions.

    SYNOPSIS: This is the West Germany the Social Democratic Party (SDP) likes to portray. Pictures like these make it hard for the electorate to listen to grim predictions about the economy delivered by the vitriolic Mr Strauss. Under the SDP, inflation and unemployment are comparatively low.

    But Chancellor Schmidt has made foreign policy the main plank of his election appeal. His left-liberal coalition with Free Democratic Party (FDP) leader, Deputy Chancellor Hans-Dietrich Genscher has worked well. Mr Genscher was worried earlier in the year that his party might do badly in the election. FDP supporters were warned with the slogan "This time everything is at stake", and latest polls indicate their place in parliament is safe.

    It is the Schmidt government's relations with Moscow that have been severely attacked by the opposition. Mr Strauss admits that the West has to live in peace and trade with the Communist countries but he says it mustn't make "moral or intellectual concessions." Mr Schmidt points out however, that he and French President Giscard d'Estaing managed to get the Superpowers talking again after the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan.

    And at this meeting with President Brezhnev in July (1980) Chancellor Schmidt took the unprecedented step of telling the Soviets in person that they must withdraw from the country.

    As Premier of the State of Bavaria, Mr Schmidt's arch-rival greeted Chinese Chairman Hua-Guofeng last October (1979). The two men with widely differing political ideas found one area of absolute agreement -- their attitude to the Soviet Union. Chairman Hua, who had avoided anti-Soviet remarks in Bonn, warned of the Soviet Union's desire for world domination while he was in Bavaria.

    Mr Strauss's constituency of Bavaria remains strongly conservative. His fiery speeches, filled with warnings about permissiveness in West Germany, draw great crowds. And he contends that Mr Schmidt is being used by his party's left-wing to take West Germany towards the Soviet system.

    The leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU), Helmut Kohl led the conservative coalition four years ago -- before being ousted by Mr. Strauss. During this campaign he has alleged that state debts and demands for a 35-hour week are grave threats to economic stability.

    If elected Mr Strauss promises he will not go to Moscow or to meet Premier Honecker of East Germany. He will go to Washington, he says, to mend the fences. He insists the Left in West Germany is out of control, and that, he says, is because Schmidt is too weak to do anything about it.

    There are actually 20 parties fielding candidates in the election. But the most popular minority party is the "Greens". Their main plank is anti-nuclear and anti-military. And they charge that Schmidt has become tied to industrial and military interests and to NATO.

    But West Germans look set to return Chancellor Schmidt to Bonn for another four years.

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