German far-left party picks new leaders as co-founders retire
Germany's far-left party Die Linke Saturday elected new leadership to replace its retiring co-founders, including well-known politician Oskar LaFontaine.
At the party's congress in the eastern German city of Rostock, one of its electoral strongholds, Die Linke officially marked the retirement of LaFontaine, 66, for health reasons, and Lothar Bisky, 68, who together founded the leftist party in 2007.
Lafontaine was operated on in November for prostate cancer and in January announced that he would be stepping down as leader of the party he started after leaving the Social Democrats (SPD).
He served as finance minister under former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder until he quit in 1999 in a huff over what he said were the government's "neo-liberal" policies.
In last September's general elections, Die Linke garnered 11.9 percent of the vote, a record result.
The party picked two parliamentarians, Gesine Loetzsch, 48, and Klaus Ernst, 55, to take over the leadership.
Die Linke is also represented in 13 of the 16 regional legislatures in Germany.
© 2010 AFP