New German leftist party proposed

5th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

5 July 2004 , BERLIN - Disenchanted Social Democrats upset at reforms being pushed through by Social Democrat Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder were among leftwing activists gathering in the German capital at the weekend to discuss formation of a new political party. They threatened to create a party called the Election Alternative for Labour and Social Justice (WASG) by the end of the summer unless Schroeder relents on his plans for social and economic reform. "We will keep our options open until after the sta

5 July 2004

BERLIN - Disenchanted Social Democrats upset at reforms being pushed through by Social Democrat Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder were among leftwing activists gathering in the German capital at the weekend to discuss formation of a new political party.

They threatened to create a party called the Election Alternative for Labour and Social Justice (WASG) by the end of the summer unless Schroeder relents on his plans for social and economic reform.

"We will keep our options open until after the state elections in North-Rhine Westphalia in September," Duisburg SPD member Irina Neszeri told the newspaper Welt am Sonntag.

A former union official who was booted out of Schroeder's SPD in June, Thomas Haendel, said the consensus from the weekend talks was that a new political party to the left of the SPD would be a certainty.

"The only thing that would hold us back would be if the government were to de-fang its reforms, rescind cuts in unemployment benefits and generally take the sharp edge off everything that it has proposed under its Agenda 2010 reform package," Haendel said.

"I don't see the chancellor doing that," said Haendel.

The move comes as a new survey shows the SPD has fallen to a historic low in voter support.

The new survey, also conducted by ARD television, showed only 23 percent of the electorate backs the SPD, and 11 percent support the Green Party coalition partners.

It is the lowest poll standing in post-war history for the SPD and it means the SPD-Greens coalition would not have a majority if elections were held now.

In contrast, the opposition Christian Democrats have the support of 45 percent of voters, and their potential coalition partners, the Free Democrats, have 7 percent.

The pollsters said respondents cited dissatisfaction with Schroeder's handling of the economy for their low approval rating.

DPA

Subject: German news

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