German Social Democrats hit new low after brief dalliance with Left

13th March 2008, Comments 0 comments

Party’s support falls to 23 percent.

Berlin -- A brief dalliance with the Left has driven support for Germany's Social Democrats (SPD), and in particular party leader Kurt Beck, to an historic low, according to a poll.

The Forsa poll put support for the party at 23 percent, the lowest level that the organization, which was set up in 1984, has ever recorded.

Other polls confirm that the SPD, Germany's oldest political party, has hit a post-war low since Beck opened the party to possible cooperation with the Left Party in the western state of Hesse last month and then changed his mind.

The bad news for the traditional party of the working class comes just 18 months before the next federal elections must be held and has raised questions about Beck's leadership and judgment.

Beck gave his approval to Hesse SPD leader Andrea Ypsilanti to seek election as state premier with the support of the Left, with the aim of heading a minority government in coalition with the Greens.

The deal foundered on principled opposition from SPD state legislature member Dagmar Metzger, who pointed to pre-election promises by Beck and Ypsilanti guaranteeing no deal of any kind with the Left.

Ypsilanti promptly withdrew her candidature.

The weekly Forsa poll, commissioned by Stern magazine and the broadcaster RTL, put Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian (CDU/CSU) on 38 percent.

The Left, which was formed only last year, secured 14 percent. The Greens are on 11 and the liberal FDP on 10.

Beck's personal support as potential candidate for the chancellorship also hit a low, with only 13 percent backing him, while 57 percent of the 2,501 respondents polled last week backed Merkel.

Commentators have described the past month as a "disaster" and "debacle" for the SPD.

The Left, which is the largest party in the formerly communist east, is regarded with deep suspicion in western Germany as a repository for unreconstructed communists and unreliable fringe leftists.

DPA with Expatica

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