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Wahl-O-Mat blackout in Saxony-Anhalt ahead of March election

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Wahl-O-Mat blackout in Saxony-Anhalt ahead of March election
12:29 CET+01:00
The computer programme Wahl-O-Mat which helps voters decide how to cast their ballot by comparing answers to a range of questions to the manifestoes of political parties will not be available to people in Saxony-Anhalt ahead of the March 20 state election.

The programme, which is produced and administered by state institutes, has to include small parties in the options available to users, according to a court ruling from two years ago.

But the State Centre for Political Education in Saxony-Anhalt's state capital Magdeburg has refused to include the neo-Nazi NPD in its version, even though the party is running in the election.

A spokesman said its exclusion was to avoid shocking younger voters who might be upset if the programme suggested their attitudes matched the neo-Nazi party. He said it would be better not to run the programme at all rather than risk a court case.

The extremist parties standing in Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate state elections on March 27, will be included in the local versions of the Wahl-O-Mat.

“If the NPD is licensed to stand for election, sadly it also has to be in the Wahl-O-Mat,” said Peter Malzkorn, spokesman for the Rhineland-Palatinate State Centre for Political Education.

Users of the programme in Baden-Württemberg will have the choice of deselecting specific parties from their options before they answer the dozens of questions which the Wahl-O-Mat poses to determine the best match of political party.

“We do not practice a protectionist education policy. One must deal offensively with the extreme parties,” said Karl-Ulrich Templ, deputy director of the centre for political education there.

Hamburg voters will also have the option of using the Wahl-O-Mat to help them decide ahead of the state election there, which will probably be held on February 20.

DPA/hc

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