Elections in Germany

On Sunday, 24th September, elections for German Bundestag took place.

The parties "left from Christian Conservatives" SPD (social democrats), Linke and Greens combined lose 4.1% and only receive 38.6% of the valid votes. The downwards trend is continuing in 2017 "thanks" to the weakness of the social democrats. Only in three city states Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen the red/red/green alliance received more 50%. In Brandenburg and Thuringia it received only a third of the votes.  

The governing parties are the losers of this election night: together they lost 13.8%.

The Christian conservatives received their second worst results in the history of the republic. Reasons for that are various: another chancellorship of Angela Merkel seemed to be ceratain already at an early stage. Despite the party had seen a lot of critique, retaining its power seemed to be granted which motivated a lot of conservative voters, to vote for other parties of the same camp. Obviously, for many conservative voters the transitions to the liberals and even to the right wing populist AfD (Alternative for Germany) are fluid. The diffuse core message of the conservatives "For a country in which we live in well and like to live in" might symbolise a further aspect. Even in conservative circles it's not altogether clear anymore how this is to be understood. The CDU lost against the AfD in Saxony.

The Christian-Social Union (CSU) in Bavaria loses 10.5%, reaching only 38.8% - far away from their magical 50% mark which would allow for absolute majority. The AfD standing further right than CSU gains 12.4%. The CSU did not succeed to keep the AfD small by snuggling up and taking over their positions. On the other side of the political spectrum Die Linke gains 6.1% in CSU-land.

The Social Democrats (SPD) received their historically worst results in federal elections. Nothing made this more clear than the announcement to directly opt for opposition six minutes after the first results, despite their would have been a majority for continuing the existing coalition with the conservatives, and thus the implemetation of social democratic policy. Sure, it would have been a coalition of losers. At the same time this move highlights that the party is lacking strategical orientation and societal alternatives which would be worth fighting for. The candidate for chancellor could not implement his strengths as "Man of Europe"; instead he was reduced to the role of a former mayor of a small town in Western Germany. The SPD is also not safe from implosion as other social democratic parties in Europe.

The Liberals (FDP) return to German parliament. Their success is so closely linked to Christian Lindner that it remains completely unclear what the party stands for and what it separates from the former liberal agenda.  It's success is mainly due to the need of many former conservative voters, who wanted to vote for an alternative to the AfD.

The AfD clearly belongs to the winners of this election. It barely misses it's election goal of reaching 15%. In Saxony it became strongest party gaining three direct mandates and in other Eastern German regions it came in second after the conservatives. The East German color scheme has changed completely. It's completely unclear which role the nationalist, openly revisionist forces within the AfD will play, aiming at overthowing the basic rules of democratic society and possibly posing a majority in the parliamentary group. The entry of the AfD represents a political cesur in parlamentary work, becoming visible on many levels, in provocative initiatives, attention seeking action for the media and the change of political debate culture. The success of the AfD was not surprising after it succeeded with federal issues during the preceding Land parlamentary elections. It confirms that the preceeding votes were not meant as one time protest. The societal conflict lines which the AfD increasingly pursues since 2015/16 are uniquely characteristic. The challenging debate about the future of the country has to be taken up by the other parties. If they don't respond, as happened with the CDU in Saxony, the AfD will win all the more. In Eastern Germany it became second strongest party after the conservatives, clearly ahead of LINKE and social democrats.

The Greens come out stable. They gained more then polls predicted. The obvious orientation of the top team towards a conservative-green coalition did not damage them, rather to the contrary. They are the party of a new traditionally educated middle-class, and in many aspects, especially considering the socio-political milieus, they form the opposite pole to the AfD. 

DIE LINKE remains stable as well, gains absolutely more second votes than 2013 and receives the second best result in its party history. Yet, she remains below ten percent and does not get stronger than the AfD. Its votership has considerably changed. The backing in the East clearly decreased to 17.7%, in the West the party grows to 7.2% of valid votes. The power relations within the party thus change further towards the Western Land organisations. The above average approval among younger voters remains as well. Obviously, the trend of a growing disparition between results in urban and rural areas continues. This includes an above average approval among academics. The party is on the move which altogether did not lead to a slump - thus the campaign strategy was altogether successful. The result is also suprising since the party left the game of power of future coalition forming quite early. It loses the position as strongest opposition force and will have trouble to be heard in the media compared to the bigger opposition parties. Such a stable result for a party aiming at progressive societal changes cannot be satisfying, in particular as the only possible majority option of red/red/green has receded into the distance. Given the changed political conditions, it will now come down to overcome the existing strategical and societal obstacles to gain a wider scope of political options.

Voter turnout increased again (76.2%), reflecting a growing political interest of the citizens. The increase is not only due to formerly non-voting AfD voters.

Government formation will not become easy for Angela Merkel. The social democrats pursue the strategy they already tried in North-Rhine Westphalia: to force Liberals and Greens into a coalition with the conservatives. In case of a "Jamaica"-coalition the CDU will have to satisfy the party political needs of three smaller partners (CSU, Liberals, Greens). Sustainable solutions for the big societal questions are thus not to be expected. SPD and Linke as left opposition to such a government would have the option to actually form a left political alternative. In the long run, this might be the last window of opportunity for the renewal of social democratic and left reformist policy.

DIE LINKE Makes the Difference - Social Justice is Eligible!

The decision in this year's election lies between a continuation of the current policy with variants of "disimprovement" or a policy of social departure.

We want to drive politics forward on five central fields so that the majority in our country finally experiences justice, and the racist scapegoat politics of populist AfD and others eventually lose ground.

Read more.

Gregor Gysi on the planned Referendum in Northern Iraq

Gregor Gysi, President of the Party of the European Left declares: the desire of the Kurds for their own national state is more than understandable. It has been increased by the decade long discrimination, prosecution and exclusion they have been subject to.

Nevertheless, the secession of a part of a nation state from its territory is, according to international law, only legitimate with the approval of this state. I had the same opinion regarding Kosovo and the Crimea. But those who permanently justify the Kosovo need to grant the same right to the inhabitants of the Crimea, the Kurds in Northern Iraq, the Catalans in Spain.

A referendum held by the Kurds does not, however, justify any military action by the Iraqi government and even less by Turkey, which has no right to any aggression against the Iraq.

Suspend NATO Membership of Turkey

Matthias Höhn, DIE LINKE Party Secretary, declares:

The reorganisation of Turkey into a dictatorship must be unsettling for every democratic politician. The German government has to stop standing at the sidelines of this development at the doorsteps of the EU, quitely rejoicing that the dirty work of the inhuman refugee defence is dealt with excluding the public.

Pursuing the opposition, abolishing freedom of press, waging war against the Kurds, the imprisonment of currently nine Germans for political reasons and the attempts to influence German federal elections - the list of misconducts is long. It may not be prolonged - otherwise Germany, EU, and NATO remain complices of Erdogan.

As long as Germans are imprisoned in Turkey and the country is on the road to dictatorship, the German government needs to demand the suspension of Turkey's NATO membership. Assisting dictatorships cannot be an acceptable duty. Any military cooperation of democracies with Turkey is irresponsible.

Solidarity with Lula!

Party chairs of DIE LINKE, Katja Kipping and Bernd Riexinger, as well as head of DIE LINKE international commission, Heinz Bierbaum declare:

We are dismayed at the conviction of former Brazilian president Lula due to alleged corruption. The accusation seems constructed and politically motivated. The meager evidence is based on statement of the chief victims. Again, the judiciary seems to be instrumentalized for political reasons.

Lula's workers' party (Partido dos Trabalhadores - PT) considers the conviction a direct attack on the constitution and democracy. Already last year, Dilma Rousseff was displaced by a parliamentary coup. Now, the impression grows that Lula, currently leading the polls for the next presidential elections in 2018, is to be put out of action with a specious judgement. Together with the PT we are hoping that justice gets its chance in the next instances. Our solidarity belongs to the PT and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Gregor Gysi, President of the EL:
Juncker plans not sufficient for saving EU

President of the European Commission Juncker is right by calling freedom, equality and rule of law the principles of a better Union - yet this is by far not sufficient for a stable foundation and a successful new  start of the EU. Around 120 million people in the EU live in poverty, 21 million are unemployed. In some member states unemployment rates exceed 20% since years. Jean-Claude Juncker correctly demands the implementation of social standards but a respective protection can only be effective if  it can be claimed in court. The EU can only be saved if it apprehends the creation of social security and ecological sustainability as one of its main aims.

Peace must be an integral foundation of the EU as well. It must be appreciated that President of the Commission Juncker feels obliged to peace "inside and outside", yet, this is contradicted by the announced European Defence Fund and the favouring of NATO in terms of security policy: only a policy of conflict avoidance and solution instead of military armament can actively contribute to peace in the EU and the world.

Finally, solidarity must be part of the idea of a newly started EU. The EU not only lacked it towards Greece, Portugal, Spain and Ireland but also displayed it more than insufficiently towards the refugees of this world, although the reasons for flight are created by the EU itself as well.




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DIE LINKE. Internationale Politik · Kleine Alexanderstraße 28 · Berlin 10178 · Germany

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