Dead Men Left

Friday, August 12, 2005

Interview with Left Party "international co-ordinator"

Shortish piece in the Guardian. Sample:

Only a few weeks ago, Angela Merkel's conservative opposition Christian Democrats (CDU) and their allies seemed assured of an easy victory. But the latest polls show the Left party winning up to 60 Bundestag seats, which would make it Germany's third-largest political force.

And it could deny an outright majority to Ms Merkel while further weakening Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's ruling Social Democrats (SPD).

Mr Scholz accepted his party was unlikely to win. But he pledged there would be no backroom deals to keep the SPD and Greens in power.

"One reason for the Left's support is that voters feel they were wrong to trust Mr Schröder in 1998 after 16 years of Helmut Köhl," he said. "The Red-Green coalition managed a change of power but not a change of policy ... The ridiculous continuation of neo-liberal policies obviously contributes to today's opportunity. We will help them correct their policies. But there is no chance of a coalition."

The article also details a few of the Left Party's policies: an "overhaul of industrial and taxation policies" to address the recession, especially in the East; opposition to benefit and welfare state cuts; and, most drastically of all, given the Federal Republic's history, a review of "Germany's Nato membership and its troop presence in Afghanistan." On current opinion polls, this lot are going to be Germany's third party come September. Fingers crossed.