greater instability in Germany than ever before in post-war
history. Both big parties, the Social Democrats
(SPD) and Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) lost considerably. The virtual deadlock
is caused by the fact that after a short and very polarised election campaign
both camps failed to get anywhere near a majority of seats.
elections have produced what amounts to a hung parliament. There is a strong
element of class polarisation in German society, which is reflected in these
elections results. Of particular interest is the emergence of the Left Party,
which did very well in the historic bastions of the PDS but also picked up a
reasonable vote in what was the former “affluent” West.
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Schröder has dissolved the Bundestag and has called early elections for
September 18. Polls show a drastic fall in the SPD vote and the most
likely outcome seems a victory of the right wing Christian Democrats.
But on the left a new formation is emerging, the Left Alliance, made up
of the PDS (former Communist Party of East Germany) and the WASG, a
left split of disenchanted social democrats and trade unionists, and
the former leader of the left of the SPD, Oskar Lafontaine, is
preparing to be its main leader. The crisis of German capitalism is
preparing the ground for greater instability and a polarization of
A historic defeat for chancellor Kohl and a clear victory for the left are the most outstanding features of the German election on September 27. After exactly 16 years of Kohl in office, German workers and youth said: enough is enough. German is now likely to be governed by a coalition of Social Democrats and Greens. Hans Gerd Ofinger analyses the implications from Germany.
Things are changing fast in Germany. In September 1998, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) scored a big victory in the Bundestag elections, ousting the bourgeois coalition under Kohl which had held power for 16 years. The new "red-green" coalition government under chancellor Schröder was greeted with great hope by millions of workers, unemployed, old age pensioners and youth. Now the SPD as well as the Greens are stumbling from defeat to catastrophe to disaster.