Major Defeat

Kohl suffers a stinging setback

Only seven days earlier, West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl had endured the strain of President Reagan's controversial visit to a military cemetery at Bitburg with its Nazi graves. Last week the Chancellor faced an ordeal that was, in terms of his political future, more significant. In the most important state election since Kohl's national victory two years ago, voters went to the polls in North Rhine-Westphalia, whose 17 million residents represent more than a quarter of the country's electorate. The result: a stinging setback for the Chancellor.

In the race for the state parliament, Kohl's conservative Christian Democratic Union made its...

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