Dear reader,

it's been a while since our last newsletter. Due to lots of work and some replacements we struggled a bit to provide you with a more regular posting. But now we are ready to supply you again with insights in the German political landscape as well as developments of the party DIE LINKE.
We'll start with the latest state parliament elections in Bavaria and Hesse and the possible effects on the federal level.
After elections in Hesse, Angela Merkel announced to step back as party chair causing a heated debate about her succession. Party secretary Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer would be favoured by the chancellor while Friedrich Merz threw his hat in the ring as well.
Past Sunday the Christian Social Union has come to a coalition agreement with the Free Voters to form the Bavarian government after elections in October. Under the agreement, Markus Söder will remain Minister President.

Uta Wegner (editor)


Land Parliamentary Elections in Hesse 2018

The CDU (Christian Conservative Union) must accept a historical defeat in Hesse. Only in 1962 and 1996 the party gained less than 30 percent of the votes. The results are, nonetheless, represented as relative success since the party remains strongest force and further delegates the Minister President. Current officeholder Volker Bouffier is considered a “man of Merkel”. Should he remain in office the political pressure on the Chancellor would decrease. At the same time the losses of the party originate from state politics. Voters lost their trust in the competence of the party, deeming the Greens more likely to deal with important issues.

In Hesse ends the cycle in which the CDU had to cope with the secession of its original potential voters. After the party had prescribed itself a modernisation, not least to reconquer voters in urban centres, part of the votership moved to the rightwing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD). This resembles the experience of the SPD (Social Democratic Party) with the left party (DIE LINKE). A party to the right of the Conservatives prevailed in election after election without this momentum being broken so far.

The Conservatives – in view of coming elections - will have to come to a strategic decision whether, how and with whom they want to prevent this party from striving for governmental power; or whether they want to form coalitions with it and create new majorities. This inner-party issue hums in the background while publicly the term of Angela Merkel is debated.

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Land Parliamentary Elections in Bavaria 2018

The elections to the Bavarian Landtag were held on 14 October 2018. Voter turnout was higher, surging to over 70 percent. The results of the elections demonstrate the change of the German party system.

The Greens are one of the biggest winners emerging as the second strongest party. The Christian Social Union (CSU) won just 37.2 percent of the vote and thus losing its absolute majority. It is their worst election result since 1958. The SPD (Social Democratic Party) collapsed into the single digits coming in fifth with just 9.7 percent. The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) slightly failed to come up to expectations and their result at the German federal elections but the party entered the state parliament for the first time.

The major losses which CSU and SPD have suffered threaten the stability of the coalition government in Berlin. The election results are a clear vote against the fragile great coalition.

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Incidents in Chemnitz are Shocking

27. August 2018, Antje Feiks: "What happened within the last 48 hours in Saxon town Chemnitz makes me speechles. After the conflict during the Chemnitz town festival on Sunday I was shocked to learn that one of the three heavily injured died in hospital. I express my sincerest condolences to the relatives. I hope the event will quickly be resolved by investigative authorities and this act will be prosecuted. I wish for a speedy recovery of the injured.

The subsequent wave of mobilisation among the extreme right and hooligan scene raises memories of the pogroms of the early nineties. A rightwing mob succeeds in instrumentalising and appropriating the commemorations. In a pogrom-like atmosphere a marauding mob, ready to use violence, is roaming the centre of Chemnitz hunting people of different origin, colour, or presumed political attitude: an esqualation spiral which equals nothing.

Many are aware that Saxony has a problem with established rightwing structures. Unfortunately not everyone. The federal government and especially the ruling Christian Conservative Party should realise the urgency now: what happened in Chemnitz on Sunday may not happen again. Chemnitz may not become a second Rostock-Lichtenhagen (a town where violent xenophobic riots took place in 1992). I hope people now see and understand what sort of mind seeks to make capital out of this tragic death. Warnings against exactly such a situation have not only been ignored in the past far too often but also presented as false. Rightwing baiting has sneakingly found its way into everyday life unchallenged and is now taken for granted. The many that oppose rightwing baiting, the humanists, have to stand up! We are more and we will not put up with this!"

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Imminent Heat Period

7. August 2018, Bernd Riexinger. How is it possible that the consequences of climate change are not the political and media top issues, across the board and all parties? Only yesterday scientists warned of an imminent heat period; today "Astro Alex", astronaut Alexander Gerst, sends pictures from space depicting a partly dried up Europe. The system of crisis capitalism destroys the livelihood of people by massive overexploitation while its claqueurs either approve or even promote this development with a literal "After us, the flood" attitude.

The federal government is sitting the overdue energy transformation out. They spectacularly missed the 2020 climate goals. I have little hope for the 2030 climate goals. Yet, in September 2017, Chancellor Merkel reinforced her intention to reach the climate goal by 2020 and thereby reduce Germany's greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent. Now she distanced herself from that again. Coal energy is a climate killer. Germany urgently needs a carbon-neutral traffic system. But pursuing lobby politics is tying ones hands, as usual.

DIE LINKE demands an immediate action programme for a quick exit from coal and to set up a fund to secure the employees. Germany needs an investment programme for the expansion of public transport and a noticeble reduction of ticket prices up to a free public transport.

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Denuclearisation of North Korea Requires Diplomatic Effort

12. June 2018, Katja Kipping. The meeting of Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un produced a common paper stating that the government of North Korea was willing „to give up its aspirations to become an atomic power“. It remains to be seen whether this holds true.  Until a concrete and – from a peace policy perspective – desirable denuclearisation on the Korean penninsula comes about, diplomatic efforts are due, in which the UN, China, Russia, and, of course, South Korea have to be involved.

Yet, this would only be a partial success, since the responsibility for disarmament and non-proliferation lies with all atomic powers, according to the Nuclear Non-proliferation treaty which was signed and acknowledged by 191 states.

The paper is also merely a partial success because Trump and Kim Jong Un remain completely unpredictable heads of states, whose egos seem to be more important to them then the welfare of the people in their political care. Trump owes world peace now more than ever a return to the legally binding contracts of the nuclear agreement with Iran.

Every further destabilisation by an unpredictable arms race or a possible US-american preventive attack could further shake the war-ridden Middle East.

Initiated be the parliamentary and party chairs, the party congress of DIE LINKE in Leipzig  thus asked the federal government to unanimously and urgently do everything possible for the keeping of the nuclear agreement with Iran. The congress, furthermore, asked to set up a conference for security and cooperation in the Near and Middle East together with European partners, Russia and China. The conference should not only end the dangerous arms race but also guarantee the legitimate security interests of all conflict parties in the region.

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What's next?

Nov 9-11, 2018
European Forum

Feb 22-24, 2019
DIE LINKE European Congress



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