Dear reader,

federal elections of September last year have been followed by a quick succession of state parliament elections in West Germany this year with implications for the whole political landscape and some worrying consequences for DIE LINKE.

The world is witnessing a culmination of crises - most outstanding the covid pandemic, the war in Ukraine and climate change - which are intertwined and have global repercussions. And they challenged politics to a great extent, old securities and beliefs had to be thrown overboard. Urgent measures are required but sometimes withhold due to conflicting opinions on how to best address them. This was a challenge for the party as well and added to the concern about the decreasing acceptance in the electoral base.

For now, we want to give you an insight in the backgrounds and results of the last state elections.
Soon this will be followed by more information about the internal debates in the party as well as its current struggles ahead of the party congress in June.

Uta Wegner
DIE LINKE dept. for International Policy

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State Elections in Saarland on 27.03.2022

The elections let to landslide changes of the states’ political power balance. For the first time since 1994 the Social Democrats (SPD) came out strongest again with a clear lead. A social democrat – Anke Gabriele Rehlinger - will be Prime Minister, giving the party a states chancellery for the first time again since 2013. (translated excerpt of an analysis by Horst Kahrs)

Saarland state elections 2022: wins & losses. Source: Stastista

With the current result the old two-party constellation was revived at the expense of the Left party (LINKE) which was once the only one capable of breaking through the two party system with more than 20 percent. Now, voters dismissed the party as irrelevant and it had to leave parliament altogether.
Due to the election threshold about 22 percent of valid votes will not be represented in the state parliament: a historically high number in the parliamentary democracy of the federal republic.

Saarland 2022: seats. Source: Wikipedia

Voter turnout (61%) was lower than in 2017 (70%) mainly due to a demobilisation of Christian Conservative (CDU) voters. Read more...

State Elections in Schleswig Holstein on 08.05.2022

On 8th of May the state parliament of Schleswig Holstein was elected.

The Russian war against Ukraine played mostly an indirect role in the campaign regarding its consequences for the people in Schleswig Holstein: energy politics, inflation, gas prices. Issues of an anyway pending transformation which are also on the agenda of the federal government.

Schleswig Holstein state elections 2022: wins/losses. Source: Statista

Regarding the attribution of competences in dealing with this transformation in the state the winners are the conservative Christian Democratic Party (CDU) and the greens (Grüne). The conservatives are furthermore regarded the undisputed leaders when it comes to dealing with the economy.

Seats. Source: Wikipedia

The social democrats (SPD) only had a lead in educational policy. This was not sufficient for the party, though, to substantially engage in the campaign with conservatives and greens leading on most other issues. So these two parties fought about the future of the state but not as a fight for power; rather about the future power balance between the two government partners. Both of them won eventually. The social democrats do not play a role having lost 62.000 voters to the CDU, 36.000 to the greens and 16.000 to the SSW (South Schleswig Voter Alliance, party of the Danish minority). Read more...

State Elections in North Rhine-Westphalia on 15.05.2022

On May 15 the third land parliamentary elections this year took place in the biggest West German state.

The following issues dominated the campaign in North Rhine-Westphalia: environment/energy politics, education, Ukraine/Russia, traffic, infrastructure and inflation/gas prices. Regarding economy voters attributed the conservatives (CDU) with the highest competence, followed by the social democrats (SPD). The greens are leading in energy politics, while the social democrats are considered the most competent in regards to education. Voters see conservatives and greens both competent regarding traffic.

The social democrats were in a less embarassing situation here as a week before in the Schleswig Holstein elections – for two issues voters saw them in second place in competence levels.


North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria were the centres of the WASG which eventually merged with the PDS to DIE LINKE. 2010 DIE LINKE succeeded for the first – and up to now only – time to enter the North Rhine-Westphalian parliament with 5,6 percent. After this election a minority government led by social democrat Hannelore Kraft was formed but dissolved after only two years because the parliament rejected the budget and made snap elections necessary. In 2012 the left party was defeated and fell back to 2,5 percent – which was even less than the added results of WASG and PDS in 2005. Read more...

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

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