Leftists agree on joint name for general election
16 June 2005, BERLIN - Two leftist groups that aim to take votes from the Social Democrats at Germany's upcoming general election agreed on Wednesday to name their rapidly-formed alliance the 'Democratic Left.PDS'.
16 June 2005
BERLIN - Two leftist groups that aim to take votes from the Social Democrats at Germany's upcoming general election agreed on Wednesday to name their rapidly-formed alliance the 'Democratic Left.PDS'.
Under a deal announced last week, the post-communist Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) and the less known Election Alternative for Jobs and Social Justice (WASG) will not formally merge.
The former East German communists will instead take in leftists from the west as poll candidates under a joint banner.
PDS leader Lothar Bisky and a WASG executive member, Klaus Ernst, said that to do this, the PDS would rename itself Democratic Left.PDS at federal level while allowing regional chapters to vary the name. A PDS congress will vote on the change 17 July.
Some of the 5,400 WASG members have been objecting to coming under the name 'PDS' and for a while the alliance looked likely to crumble.
PDS leaders were also wary over creating an alliance, given that they have almost 65,000 members and have repeatedly won seats in local and regional elections over the past 15 years.
The rebel ex-leader of German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats (SPD), Oskar Lafontaine, said last week he would run as a candidate for the leftist bloc. Opinion polls are mixed over the its potential, with predictions of between 8 and 18 percent support.
All polls show Schroeder's SPD-Greens government badly trailing the opposition Christian Democratic alliance (CDU/CSU) and Free Democrats (FDP). The election is expected on 18 September.
Subject: German news