Wed Jul 20th, 2005 at 06:50:14 AM EST
Promoted by Colman
I saw an article in the Swiss press yesterday about the "new left party" forming in Germany, and how it is making all the other parties nervous...including the current "Left Party", the SPD of Shroeder. I thought this to be big news, so went to Der Spiegel Online, and found this article:"Germany's East Heading Left", by Charles Hawley.
In this article, the author reports
German President Horst Koehler has to decide whether or not to dissolve parliament by the end of this week. Surprisingly, however, that is not the main political story in Germany these days. The new "Left Party" is on the march. And the country's politicians don't seem to know what to do about it.
I am making a plea here to our readers who are more knowledgeable about German affairs to comment more on this. But I will add a few choice quotes from the article after the fold.
And yet, despite the import of Koehler's impending verdict, there's a feeling in Germany of the calm before the proverbial storm. And the storm is not how the German President will decide on Thursday or Friday. After all, bets are that Koehler will accept the artificially constructed no confidence vote against the government of German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder early this month and will dissolve parliament. It's a decision that 75 percent of Germans hope will come.
No. The storm is the coming campaign. (...)The newly renamed "Left Party" - is an alliance of the post-Communist Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) and the leftist-idealists from the (take a deep breath here if reading out loud) Election Alternative for Work and Social Justice (WASG). Just days after the party's official christening, it stands to become Germany's third biggest party, boasting support of up to 12 percent, compared to 42 percent for the opposition Christian Democrats (CDU) behind Angela Merkel and 27 percent for the Social Democrats (SPD) behind Schroeder. And the heavy-hitting duo of the well-known Gregor Gysi and the even better-known former SPD leader (and former German finance minister) Oskar Lafontaine is likewise not to be ignored.
Even worse for the CDU and the SPD, however, is the fact that the Left Party is now the largest party in the states of former East Germany. Fully 30 percent of voters surveyed there said they plan to vote for the Left Party against 29 percent for the CDU. In other words, a party that bases its existence on collecting Germany's dissatisfied has a future. And in the East -- where unemployment rates hover around 20 percent, which is more than double the joblessness in Germany as a whole -- that dissatisfaction is high.
It is now becoming clear to Germany's more established political parties that something needs to be done. But they very clearly don't know what that something might be. (...)And even though they are currently far ahead in the polls, the CDU too is becoming concerned about the Left Party's power in the East. Merkel's popularity ratings are once again slipping as it becomes clear that the party's election strategy is based on divulging as little as possible about its plans once in the government. Support in the East could turn out to be critical.
Well...there's a whole lot we can talk about...and the campaign hasn't started yet. But I will end with this with one observation, in form of a worry, which is about the author's comment:
"as it becomes clear that the party's election strategy is based on divulging as little as possible about its plans once in the government"
This seems too...Bushian to me...should I be worried?