ELECTION WEAKENS KOHL'S CLOUT

The big winner of the Sunday West German election was the Greens, the left radical party that opposes West Germany's membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, insists on immediate scrapping of all West German nuclear power plants, and assigns absolute priority to a clean environment regardless of consequences of such policy on the nation's economy.

The Greens polled 8.3 percent of the popular vote, 2.7 percentage points more than in 1983, when they first succeeded in gathering more than 5 percent of the votes needed to qualify for parliamentary representation, and raised the number of their seats from 27 to 41.The attractiveness of a left radical party to West German university students, the country's future leadership generation, is thought provoking. Its share of the popular vote in university cities was as high as 14 percent.

Chancellor Helmut Kohl's conservative-liberal coalition won a comfortable majority of 41 seats in the 11th Parliament, enough to govern the country for another four years. But the stinging 4.5 percent loss in the popular vote suffered by the chancellor's Christian Democrats and a strong showing of the liberal Free Democratic Party, the junior partner in the coalition, have weakened Mr. Kohl's position as a leader of his own party as well as his personal authority within the government camp.

Free Democrats who won 9.1 percent of the popular vote and 46 seats in the Parliament, 12 more than previously, have already made it clear that their liberal policies will have to be given more weight in formulating the future government's program.

Christian Democrats polled only 44.3 percent of the popular vote - the party's worst results since 1949 - and lost 19 seats in the Parliament.

However, with 223 deputies they remained the strongest political force without which the country could not be governed.

Together with Free Democrats they will command 269 seats in the new Parliament, 41 more than the Social Democrats and the Greens, the two other parties represented in the Bundestag.

Social Democrats down to mere 37 percent of the popular vote and 186 seats, seven less than in 1983, have also been licking their wounds from the worst showing since 1961.

The shift in the relative strength of partners in the coalition is bound to make difficult and long the negotiations on a mutually acceptable and viable government program.

The electoral campaign as well as Monday's meetings of parties' executive committees have brought into open and accentuated wide differences of opinion existing between the FDP and Christian Social Union, the Bavarian wing of Christian Democrats led by Franz Josef Strauss, Bavaria's boisterous prime minister in foreign policy and on the law and order issue.

Mr. Strauss' attacks against Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, the most popular FDP politician, as soft on the Soviet Union, overly suspicious of the U.S. space defence system plans, and unduly critical of Washington policies in Latin America are said to have been chiefly responsible for the

shift in the popular vote away from Christian Democrats to Free Democrats by the middle-of-the-road voters favoring Chancellor Kohl's coalition government but uneasy about Mr. Strauss' rightist zeal.

A consensus on economic, social, and fiscal policies will be much easier to reach given a basic agreement of all partners in the coalition on outstanding issues.

But there are still considerable differences over details and specific approaches.

The coalition, though fully committed to a fundamental reform of West Germany's tax structure, will have to work out such vital details as the extent of relief, income tax rates, the timing, and above all the financing of the planned reform on the order of some DM40 billion to DM50 billion.

Free Democrats envisage financing one half of this shortfall in tax revenue by elimination of government subsidies to the tune of DM25 billion.

Christian Democrats view this as a totally unrealistic goal and argue that increases in indirect taxation will be required to keep the deficit spending under control.

Equally, a long run structural reform of social security system, including old age pensions, compulsory health insurance, and unemployment compensation is certain to be a source of problems.

For it will not be easy to reconcile the interests of Christian Democrats, a big popular party embracing many different groupings, with those of Free Democrats.

As a small party in the European liberal tradition the FDP derives most of its support from professionals and small business and feels very comfortable advocating "more free market" as the best approach toward making the social security system financeable and viable in the long run.

In a more immediate run, the stronger clout of Free Democrats within the government coalition has enhanced the chances of advancing the second phase of an already legislated cut in taxes by a year to January 1, 1987 as favored by leading FDP politicians but heretofore strongly opposed by Finance Minister Gerhard Stoltenberg.

Such a step would result in an injection of some DM10 billion into the economy showing signs of slowing down and would be right in tune with Washington's long-standing demands that Bonn should add fuel to stimulate domestic demand.

The administration's assumptions that such a step would help to trim the U.S. trade deficit are no less wrong than its insistence that the cut in West German key banking rates would help the dollar, West German analysts noted.

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