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Encyclopedia > Left Party (Germany)
Die Linkspartei.PDS
Left Party/PDS logo - since july 2005
Leader Prof. Dr. Lothar Bisky
Founded April 21, 1946 (SED)
December 16, 1989 (SED/PDS)
February 4, 1990 (PDS)
July 17, 2005 (Die Linkspartei)
Headquarters Kleine Alexanderstraße 28
D-10178 Berlin
Political Ideology Democratic Socialism,
Socialism
International Affiliation none
European Affiliation European Left
European Parliament Group European United Left - Nordic Green Left
Colours Red
Website www.Sozialisten.de
See also Politics of Germany

Political parties
Elections Image File history File links Source and License License: {New logo since july 2005} From: http://www. ... Lothar Bisky (born 17 August 1941) is the chairman of the Left Party. ... April 21 is the 111th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (112th in leap years). ... 1946 (MCMXLVI) was a common year starting on Tuesday. ... December 16 is the 350th day of the year (351st in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... February 4 is the 35th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... This article is about the year. ... July 17 is the 198th day (199th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian calendar, with 167 days remaining. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... (help· info) is the capital city and a state of Germany. ... Democratic socialism is a broad political movement propagating the ideals of socialism within the context of a democratic system. ... Socialism is a social and economic system (or the political philosophy advocating such a system) in which the economic means of production are owned and controlled collectively by the people. ... The European Left party is a political party at European level and an association of socialist and communist political parties in the European Union. ... GUE-NGL logo The European United Left–Nordic Green Left is a socialist and communist political grouping within the European Parliament. ... Red is any of a number of similar colors at the lowest frequencies of light discernible by the human eye. ... Politics of Germany takes place in a framework of a federal parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Federal Chancellor is the head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. ... This is a list of political parties in Germany. ... Elections in Germany gives information on election and election results in Germany, including elections to the Federal Diet (the lower house of the federal parliament), the Landtage of the various states, and local elections. ...

The Left Party (In German: Die Linkspartei., officially with a period at the end), formerly Party of Democratic Socialism (Partei des Demokratischen Sozialismus, PDS) is a left-wing socialist political party in Germany. It is the legal successor to the Socialist Unity Party (SED), which ruled East Germany (the German Democratic Republic) until 1990. Between 1990 and 2005 the party's PDS predecessor had been seen as the leftwing "party of the East", and whilst achieving minimal support in western Germany regularly won 15-25% of the vote in eastern Germany, entering coalition government (with the SPD) in two of eastern Germany's five states. In 2005 the PDS, renamed the Left Party, entered an electoral alliance with the western Germany-based Labor and Social Justice Party, and won 8.7% of the vote in Germany's September 2005 federal elections (more than double the PDS' 4% share in the 2002 election). A full stop or period, also called a full point, is the punctuation mark commonly placed at the end of several different types of sentences in English and several other languages. ... Socialism is a social and economic system (or the political philosophy advocating such a system) in which the economic means of production are owned and controlled collectively by the people. ... A political party is an organization that seeks to attain political power within a government, usually by participating in electoral campaigns. ... The logo of the SED The Socialist Unity Party of Germany (German: Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands, or SED) was the governing party of East Germany from its formation in 1949 until the elections of 1990. ... National motto: none Official languages German Capital East Berlin Largest city East Berlin Area  - Total  - % water Ranked 106th 108,333 km² Negligible Creation -Abolition 7 October 1949 3 October 1990 Currency East German Mark Time zone  â€“ in summer CET (UTC+1) CEST (UTC+2) National anthem Auferstanden aus Ruinen Internet... This article is about the year. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with SPD (disambiguation). ... The Labor and Social Justice Party (German: Arbeit & soziale Gerechtigkeit – Die Wahlalternative or WASG) is a new German political party. ... German federal elections took place on September 18, 2005 to elect the members of the 16th German Bundestag, the federal parliament of Germany. ...


At European level the PDS co-founded the European Left alliance of parties, and the Left Party is the largest party in the European Parliament's European United Left/Nordic Green Left parliamentary group. The European Left party is a political party at European level and an association of socialist and communist political parties in the European Union. ... The European Parliament is the parliamentary body of the European Union (EU), directly elected by EU citizens once every five years. ... The European United Left–Nordic Green Left is a socialist and communist political grouping within the European Parliament. ...

Contents


Background

The grassroots democracy movement that forced the dismissal of East German head of state Erich Honecker in 1989 also empowered a younger generation of reform politicians in East Germany's ruling Socialist Unity Party who looked to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev's glasnost and perestroika as their model for political change. Reformers like authors Stefan Heym and Christa Wolf and human rights attorney Gregor Gysi soon began to re-invent a party infamous for its rigid Marxist orthodoxy and police-state methods. By the end of 1989 the last hardline members of the party's Central Committee had resigned, followed in 1990 by 95% of the SED's 2.3 million members. A new name, "Party of Democratic Socialism," was adopted to distance the reformed party from its communist past (after a brief transitional period as the SED/PDS). By early 1990, the PDS was no longer a Marxist-Leninist party, though neo-marxist and communist minority factions continue to exist. For other meanings, see Grass roots (disambiguation). ... Erich Honecker (25 August 1912–29 May 1994) was a German Communist politician who led East Germany (German Democratic Republic) from 1971 until 1989. ... (help· info) (Russian: ), IPA: (commonly anglicized as Gorbachev), born March 2, 1931, was leader of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Poster showing Mikhail Gorbachev Perestroika ▶ (help· info) (Перестро́йка) is the Russian word (which passed into English) for the economic reforms introduced in June 1987 by the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. ... Stefan Heym (April 10, 1913 - December 16, 2001 ) was a German - Jewish writer, who was born in Chemnitz and died in Israel. ... Christa Wolf (born March 18, 1929 in Landsberg an der Warthe, Germany (currently Gorzów Wielkopolski, Poland) as Christa Ihlenfeld) is one of the best-known writers to emerge from the former East Germany. ... Gregor Gysi Gregor Gysi (born January 16, 1948) is a German politician of the Left Party. ... Vladimir Lenin in 1920 Leninism is a political and economic theory which builds upon Marxism; it is therefore a branch of Marxism. ...


In state and local government

The Left Party (then the Party of Democratic Socialism) has had several years of experience as a junior coalition partner in two federal states — Berlin and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania — where it co-governs with the Social Democratic Party. Political responsibility has burnished the Left's reputation as a pragmatic, rather than ideological party. It remains strong in local government in eastern Germany, with more than 6,500 town councillors and 64 elected mayors. The party continues to win eastern voters by emphasizing political competence and refuses to be labelled as merely a "protest party," although certainly the party attracted millions of protest voters in the federal election, profiting from growing dissatisfaction with high unemployment and cutbacks in health insurance, unemployment benefits, and workers' rights. SPD redirects here. ... In economics, a person who is able and willing to work at prevailing wage rate yet is unable to find a paying job is considered unemployed. ... Health insurance is a type of insurance whereby the insurer pays the medical costs of the insured if the insured becomes sick due to covered causes, or due to accidents. ... A union (labor union in American English; trade union in British English; either labour union or trade union in Canadian English) is a group of workers who act collectively to address common issues. ...


In federal elections

In the first all-German elections in 1990, the PDS won only 2.4% of the nationwide vote, but under a one-time exception to Germany's electoral law entered the Bundestag with 17 deputies led by Gysi, one of Germany's most charismatic and articulate politicians. In the 1994 election, in spite of an anti-communist "Red Socks" campaign by the then-ruling Christian Democrats aimed at scaring off eastern voters, the PDS increased its vote to 4.4 percent, won a plurality in four eastern districts, and re-entered the Bundestag with an enlarged caucus of 30 deputies. In 1998 the party reached the high-water mark in its fortunes by electing 37 deputies with 5.1% of the national vote, thus clearing the critical 5% threshold required for guaranteed proportional representation and full parliamentary status. The party's future seemed bright, but it suffered from a number of weaknesses, not the least of which was its dependence on Gysi, considered by supporters and critics alike as a super-star in German politics who stood in stark contrast to a colorless general membership. Gysi's resignation in 2000 after losing a policy debate with party leftists soon spelled trouble for the PDS. In the 2002 election, the party's vote sank back to 4.0%, and was able to seat only two back-benchers elected directly from their districts, Petra Pau and Gesine Lötzsch. The 34th German federal election, 1990 was conducted on December 2, 1990, to elect members to the Bundestag (lower house) of Germany. ... The Bundestag (Federal Diet) is the parliament of Germany. ... The 13th German federal election, 1994 was conducted on October 16, 1994, to elect members to the Bundestag (lower house) of Germany. ... The Christian Democratic Union (CDU - Christlich-Demokratische Union) is a political party in Germany. ... The 15th German federal election, 2002 was conducted on September 22, 2002, to elect members to the Bundestag (lower house) of Germany. ... Petra Pau (born 9 August 1963) is one of two members of the Party of Democratic Socialism in the German parliament, the Bundestag. ... Gesine Lötzsch (born 7 August 1961) is a German socialist politician. ...


After the 2002 debacle, the PDS adopted a new program and re-installed a respected moderate, long-time Gysi ally Lothar Bisky, as chair. A renewed sense of self-confidence soon re-energized the party. In the 2004 elections to the European Parliament, the PDS won 6.1% of the vote nationwide, its highest total at that time in a federal election. Its electoral base in the eastern German states continued to grow, where today it ranks with the Christian Democrats and Social Democrats as one of the region's three strong parties. However, low membership and voter support in Germany's western states continued to plague the party on the federal level until it formed an electoral alliance in July 2005 with the Labor and Social Justice Party (WASG), a leftist faction of dissident Social Democrats and trade unionists, with the merged list being called the Left Party. In the 2005 federal election the Left Party received 8.7% of the nationwide vote and won 54 seats in the German Bundestag. Lothar Bisky (born 17 August 1941) is the chairman of the Left Party. ... The Christian Democratic Union (CDU - Christlich-Demokratische Union) is a political party in Germany. ... SPD redirects here. ... The Labor and Social Justice Party (German: Arbeit & soziale Gerechtigkeit – Die Wahlalternative or WASG) is a new German political party. ... SPD redirects here. ... The Bundestag (Federal Diet) is the parliament of Germany. ...


Alliance with the WASG (2005)

Election campaign 2005
Election campaign 2005

After marathon negotiations, the PDS and WASG agreed on terms for a combined ticket to compete in the 2005 federal elections and pledged to unify into a single left party in 2006 or 2007. According to the pact, the parties did not compete against each another in any district. Instead, WASG candidates—including the charismatic former Social Democratic leader, Oskar Lafontaine—were nominated on the PDS electoral list. To symbolize the new relationship, the PDS changed its name to The Left Party.PDS or The Left.PDS, with the letters "PDS" optional in western states where many voters still regarded the PDS as an "eastern" party. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (2953x1945, 2744 KB) Description: Election campaign of the Linkspartei in Germany, 2005 Source: photo taken by Barbara Mürdter Date: August 2005 Author: Barbara Mürdter Permission: Barbara Mürdter put it under the CC-BY-SA Other versions of this... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (2953x1945, 2744 KB) Description: Election campaign of the Linkspartei in Germany, 2005 Source: photo taken by Barbara Mürdter Date: August 2005 Author: Barbara Mürdter Permission: Barbara Mürdter put it under the CC-BY-SA Other versions of this... The Labor and Social Justice Party (German: Arbeit & soziale Gerechtigkeit – Die Wahlalternative or WASG) is a new German political party. ... German federal elections took place on September 18, 2005 to elect the members of the 16th German Bundestag, the federal parliament of Germany. ... Oskar Lafontaine Oskar Lafontaine (born September 16, 1943 in Saarlouis-Roden) is a left-wing German politician and a leading member of the Left Party. ...


The alliance provided a strong electoral base in the east and benefited from WASG's growing voter potential in the west. Gregor Gysi, returning to public life only months after brain surgery and two heart attacks, shared the spotlight with Lafontaine as co-leader of the party's energetic and professional campaign. Both politicians will co-chair the Left's caucus in the German Bundestag after the election. The Bundestag (Federal Diet) is the parliament of Germany. ...


Polls early in the summer showed the unifed Left list on a "high-altitude flight," winning the support of as many as 12 percent of the vote, and for a time it seemed possible the party would surge past the German Greens and the pro-business Free Democratic Party and become the third-strongest force in the Bundestag. But, alarmed by the Left's unexpected rise in the polls, Germany's mainstream politicians hit back at Lafontaine and Gysi as "left populists" and "demagogues" and accused the party of flirting with neo-Nazi voters. A gaffe by Lafontaine, who described "foreign workers" as a threat in one speech early in the campaign, provided ammunition for charges that the Left was attempting to exploit German xenophobia. The party's anti-racist, pro-immigrant platform and its support by Germany's leading Turkish politician, Hakkı Keskin, received scant attention. Bündnis 90/Die Grünen (literally: Alliance 90/The Greens), the German Green Party, is a political party in Germany whose regional predecessors were founded in the late 1970s as part of the new social movements. ... Categories: Politics stubs | Liberal related stubs | German political parties | Liberal parties ... A gaffe is a verbal mistake made by a company or individual, usually in a social environment. ...


Although Germany's once-powerful trade unions distanced themselves from the Left in the 2005 election, some union leaders have expressed interest in cooperating with the party after the election. A number of regional trade union leaders and mid-level functionaries are active supporters.


2005 federal election outcome

Federal elections results
Federal elections results

At the 2005 federal election, the Left Party became the fourth-largest party in the Bundestag, with 54 Members of Parliament (MPs) (full list), ahead of the Greens (51) but behind the Free Democrats (61). Three Left Party MPs were directly elected on a constituency basis: Gregor Gysi, Gesine Lötzsch and Petra Pau, all in Eastern Berlin constituencies. In addition, 51 Left Party MPs were elected through the party list element of Germany's Additional Member System of proportional representation. These include Lothar Bisky, Katja Kipping, Oskar Lafontaine, and Paul Schäfer. Besides Lafontaine, a number of other prominent SPD defectors won election to the Bundestag on the Left Party list, including a prominent leader of Germany's Turkish minority, Hakki Keskin, German Federal Constitutional Court justice Wolfgang Neskovic, and the former SPD leader in Baden-Württemberg, Ulrich Maurer. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (970x604, 25 KB) Summary Results of Elections for Bundestag (Federal Parliament) in the FRG. Own computations and graph based on official election results by Statistisches Bundesamt. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (970x604, 25 KB) Summary Results of Elections for Bundestag (Federal Parliament) in the FRG. Own computations and graph based on official election results by Statistisches Bundesamt. ... Gregor Gysi Gregor Gysi (born January 16, 1948) is a German politician of the Left Party. ... Gesine Lötzsch (born 7 August 1961) is a German socialist politician. ... Petra Pau (born 9 August 1963) is one of two members of the Party of Democratic Socialism in the German parliament, the Bundestag. ... (help· info) is the capital city and a state of Germany. ... Party lists are used in elections to legislatures which use Party-list proportional representation or additional member proportional representation to designate a partys nominees in the at-large portion of the vote. ... The Additional Member System (AMS) is a voting system in which some representatives are elected from geographic constituencies and others are elected under proportional representation from party lists. ... Proportional representation, also known as full representation, is an electoral system in which the overall votes are reflected in the overall outcome of the body or bodies of representatives. ... Lothar Bisky (born 17 August 1941) is the chairman of the Left Party. ... Katja Kipping Katja Kipping (born in Dresden, Germany on January 18, 1978) is a German politican. ... Oskar Lafontaine Oskar Lafontaine (born September 16, 1943 in Saarlouis-Roden) is a left-wing German politician and a leading member of the Left Party. ... Paul Schäfer Paul Schäfer was born January 18, 1949 in Mainz. ... The Federal Constitutional Court (in German: Bundesverfassungsgericht, BVerfG) is a special court established by the German Constitution, the Grundgesetz (Basic Law). ...


When the votes were counted, the party doubled its federal vote from 1.9 (PDS result in 2002) to more than 4 million—including an electoral breakthrough in industrial Saarland where, for the first time in a western state, it surpassed the Greens and FDP due, in large part to Lafontaine's popularity and Saarland roots. It is now the second strongest party in three states,all of them in the former GDR, (Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia) and the third strongest in four others, all but Saarland in the former GDR, (Saarland, Berlin, Saxony, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern). It was the only party to win over protest voters broadly across Germany's political spectrum: nearly one million Social Democratic voters defected to the Left while the Christian Democrats and Greens together lost half a million votes to the resurgent party.


Exit polls showed the Left had a unique appeal to alienated non-voters: 390,000 Germans who refused to support any party in 2002 returned to the ballot box to vote for the reformed party. The Left's image as the last line of defense for Germany's traditional "social state" (Sozialstaat) proved to be a magnet for voters in western as well as eastern Germany.


All other established parties had ruled out the possibility of a coalition with the Left Party prior to the election, and refused to reconsider in the light of the closeness of the election result, which prevented either of the usual ideologically-coherent coalitions from attaining a majority. The possibility of a minority SPD-Green government tolerated by the Left Party was the closest the Left Party came to potential participation in government at this election.


Stasi connections

Since German reunification, the PDS has always been target of suspicions of Stasi connections. After the 2005 election, the Bundesbeauftragte für die Stasi-Unterlagen Marianne Birthler accused the Left Party of having at least 7 former Stasi informants in its parliamentarian group [1]. It was also revealed that Lutz Heilmann, their top candidate from Schleswig-Holstein, had worked permanently for the Stasi for several years [2]. While the first proved to be false, Lutz Heilmann's work for the Stasi became a problem weeks after the election. While his work as a guard for the Stasi wasn't in any way suspicious (most secret services have guard-troops for politicians), Heilmann would have been forced by a law of the left-party to reveal his work for the Stasi, which he didn't. In a very close vote, the members of the Left-Party in Schleswig-Holstein passed a vote of confidence in Heilmann. Suspicion of Stasi past led to their candidate Lothar Bisky not being elected as one of the vice presidents of the parliament, although the Left accused the SPD to have voted against Bisky to get revenge for the treachery of many ex-SPD-members, now working for the Left. In Saxony, the chairman of the Left Party group Peter Porsch may lose his mandate in the Saxon parliament because of Stasi past. All representatives in the parliament (CDU, SPD, NPD, Greens and FDP) except the Left Party faction voted to open the process against Porsch. [3] Logo of East Germanys Ministerium für Staatssicherheit (MfS or Stasi) / Ministry for State Security This article is about Stasi, the secret police of East Germany. ... Lothar Bisky (born 17 August 1941) is the chairman of the Left Party. ... The Free State of Saxony (German: Freistaat Sachsen; Sorbian: Swobodny Stata Sakska) is at a land area of 18,413 km² and a population of 4. ...


Miscellaneous facts

  • The party supports expanding partnership rights for same-sex couples and advocates elimination of Germany's tax on beer. It has strict rules on gender equality, and one half of its Bundestag executive committee will be women.
  • A Left Party Member of the European Parliament, Feleknas Uca, was the world's only elected Yezidi politician until three were elected to the Iraqi legislature in 2005.

A selection of bottled beers A selection of cask beers Beer is the worlds most popular alcoholic beverage. ... Feleknas Uca is a member of the European Parliament for the left German Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS). ... The Yazidi or Yezidi (Kurdish: Êzidî) are adherents of a small Middle Eastern religion with ancient origins. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

See also

Politics of Germany takes place in a framework of a federal parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the Federal Chancellor is the head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. ... This is a list of political parties in Germany. ... The Bundestag (Federal Diet) is the parliament of Germany. ...

External links

  • Left Party website in German
  • Left Party Bundestag site with profiles of deputies
  • Left Party newsletter in English
  • 2005 Left Party platform in English

Further reading

  • Thompson, Peter (2005) The Crisis of the German Left. The PDS, Stalinism and the Global Economy Berghahn Books, New York and Oxford. ISBN 1-57181-543-0
  • Oswald, Franz (2002). The Party That Came Out of the Cold War : The Party of Democratic Socialism in United Germany. Praeger Publishers. ISBN 0275977315
  • Hough, Dan (2001). The Fall and Rise of the PDS in Eastern Germany (1st ed.). The University of Birmingham Press. ISBN 1-902459-14-8

  Results from FactBites:
 
Left Party (Germany) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1972 words)
Between 1990 and 2005 the party's PDS predecessor had been seen as the leftwing "party of the East", and whilst achieving minimal support in western Germany regularly won 15-25% of the vote in eastern Germany, entering coalition government (with the SPD) in two of eastern Germany's five states.
At European level the PDS co-founded the European Left alliance of parties, and the Left Party is the largest party in the European Parliament's European United Left/Nordic Green Left parliamentary group.
The party continues to win eastern voters by emphasizing political competence and refuses to be labelled as merely a "protest party," although certainly the party attracted millions of protest voters in the federal election, profiting from growing dissatisfaction with high unemployment and cutbacks in health insurance, unemployment benefits, and workers' rights.
German federal election, 2005 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (3171 words)
Both parties lost seats compared to 2002, as did the Greens, whilst only the Left Party (a partial successor of the Party of Democratic Socialism led by Gregor Gysi and former SPD chairman Oskar Lafontaine) made significant gains.
The leaders of the far left Party of Democratic Socialism (the "PDS") agreed to let candidates of the centre left Labour and Social Justice Party (the "WASG") run on their party list, leaving open the possible future option of a merger between the two parties.
All three parties held conferences on November 14 (the CDU in Berlin, the CSU in Munich and the SPD in Karlsruhe) which voted to approve the deal.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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