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The left is scared to hell by the left
by Europe & Us
2008-04-24 08:47:50
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Regional elections in Germany always have a national significance, since the heads of the regional governments (Länder) sit in the Bundesrat, the second German legislative chamber. This week-end, on of the smallest German Bundesländer, Hamburg, voted and the results are stunning.

While the CDU of charismatic First Mayor Ole von Beust scored 42.6 %, he lost the majority. SPD scored 34.1 % and the Green Party GAL 9.6 %. The liberal party FDP missed the entry in the Hamburg parliament “Bürgerschaft" by little, they scored 4.7 %. The new left party “Die Linke” (The Left) came in with 6.4 % and all of a sudden, there is a majority left of Ole von Beust. But will he have to resign? No. The left parties are too scared of – the left party.

“Die Linke” is an offspring of former east-German SED, which then changed name to PDS, then to PDS/Die Linke and now to Die Linke. German social-democrats obviously can’t stand the idea of having a party left of the SPD to deal with, so the SPD simply decided to fully ignore Die Linke. To a point where the SPD even declines the possibility of taking governmental power, leaving the way open to a strange and rather unnatural coalition CDU-Green, which is likely to become a reality.

While this happened "just" in a small German Bundesland, the social-democrat and socialist parties in Europe should watch closely. By shifting their positions constantly towards the center, there is a new need for a party left of the SPD. This is likely to happen elsewhere, everywhere where socialist or social-democratic parties try to fish for voters in rather conservative grounds. When popular left parties shift to the center or even the right, it seems obvious that other left parties fill the vacuum on the left.

Die Linke is there to stay. They have entered now 10 out of 16 regional parliaments and in the former east-German Länder, they are even stronger than the SPD.

So, it is kind of strange that SPD and Greens (also in Hessen, where the recent elections gave pretty much the same result) refuse to take the government, while they could do so by working together. SPD and Greens having more seats than the CDU in Hamburg, they could even take the government by just being tolerated by Die Linke. But the German left is too scared of the left – they prefer the power to stay with the CDU, which is unprecedented. How will the voters react? The SPD, by making their “natural” political opponent CDU the governing party, risks losing even more voters to the Linke.

By Kai Littmann, journalist

(Taken from

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Emanuel Paparella2008-04-24 12:40:48
Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned here from American politics which seem to be an enigma to many politically sophisticated Europeans. The Clinton's success can be traced to their having well understood that power resides in the center in a democracy, not to either left or right extreme. Having understood that, they may even be able to pull it off once again by smearing Obama with the label of an extreme liberal leftist; tha's how Kerry was done in last time around. Stay tuned.

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