BONN — In the first democratic city and town elections in East Germany, the ruling center-right Christian Democratic Union lost ground but still emerged as the leading party. The CDU took the lead with 34.4 percent of Sunday's overall vote, while the Social Democratic Party came in second with 21.3 percent.
An interesting twist was that Leipzig, East Germany's second-largest city, elected a West German Social Democrat for its mayor.
The reformed Communist Party, known as the Party for Democratic Socialism, was third with 14.6 percent. Both the Christian Democrats and Social Democrats refuse to build coalitions with the reformed Communists.
Results from the local elections more or less pattern the East German national election on March 18, in which Lothar de Maizi`ere and his CDU party also were the biggest winners. Mr. de Maizi`ere is now prime minister.
In these elections, however, the CDU lost about 6.5 percent of the vote it had in the March 18 election. Its more conservative alliance partner, the German Social Union, also lost ground.
This ground was picked up by citizen movements which had been active early on in the ``peaceful revolution'' and developed a following in certain towns. Parties that represented local interests, such as the Democratic Farmers Party, also gained.
Overshadowed by other events and facing a politics-weary public, the East German news media gave much less coverage to this election than in March. Voter turnout, about 80 percent, also dropped from March, when 93 percent of eligible East Germans voted.