Greens move left, reject more police powers

26th November 2007, Comments 0 comments

26 November 2007, Berlin - Germany's Greens Party staked out a clear position on the left on social issues and came out against increased police monitoring powers at their party congress that ended in the southern city of Nuremberg Sunday.

26 November 2007

Berlin - Germany's Greens Party staked out a clear position on the left on social issues and came out against increased police monitoring powers at their party congress that ended in the southern city of Nuremberg Sunday.

The party, in opposition since the September 2005 elections, moved away from the market reform policies introduced under the last government, when it was the junior partner in Social Democrat (SPD) Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's government.

Some 750 party delegates backed 60 billion euros (90 billion dollars) a year in increased state expenditure in payments to the unemployed, on education and on child support.

Greens delegates also rejected moves promoted by Christian Democrat (CDU) Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble to increase police powers to monitor computers online, warning against a "preventive surveillance state" to counter the threat of terrorism.

In a clear shift to the left, the party staked out a position that combined environmental concerns with social policies.

It said it aimed to pay for the increased spending by increasing incomes taxes at the top end, raising inheritance taxes and closing tax loopholes.

Party Co-chairman Reinhard Buetikofer said the party had emerged from its congress halfway through Germany's electoral cycle "strengthened in opposition, strengthened in its capacity to govern."

Delegates voted by 59 per cent to reject a plan to pay a basic income to everyone in Germany, irrespective of whether they worked or not, avoiding a potential leadership crisis.

Opponents of the measure said it would cost 1 trillion euros a year, and Buetikofer and Co-chairwoman Claudia Roth were thought to likely to resign if it had been passed.

Germany faces important state elections next year. A a federal level, Chancellor Angela Merkel's unwieldy grand coalition, combining her conservative Christian CDU/CSU bloc with the SPD, is thought likely to survive until the September 2009 elections.

A recent poll gave the CDU/CSU 40 per cent, the SPD 24, the Left 12, the Greens 9 and the liberal FDP 9 per cent of the national vote.

DPA

Subject: German news

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