Spotlight on German premier
The conservatives won, the Liberals lost, the Social Democrats more than held their own, and the Greens proved that they are here to stay. These are the results of West Germany's sole state election this year, held March 25 in the country's southwest corner of Baden-Wurttemberg.
The main outcome is the 51.9 percent reelection (down from 53.4 percent four years ago) of conservative Premier Lothar Spath.
The logical next question - despite Spath's declared intent to stay in Baden-Wurttemberg forever and a day - is how soon Spath might parlay his impressive regional strength into national politics. This self-made man has established himself as the country's second-most secure regional politician (after Franz Josef Strauss in neighboring Bavaria).
Baden-Wurttemberg, the home not only of Mercedes-Benz and the cuckoo clock, but also of scores of specialized export industries, is in some calculations the most prosperous state in West Germany. It certainly has the least unemployment - and voters clearly credit their veteran premier with this success.
Baden-Wurttemberg citizens have one growing discontent, however; polls show that 65 percent of them think too little is being done for environmental protection, especially from acid rain. They registered in the ballot box, giving the ecologist Green party a surprising 8 percent, up 2.7 percent from 1980.