(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
September 13, 2009
HELD on Sunday, August 30, the
state level elections
Some 6.2 million voters were eligible to cast ballots in these state elections.
Right now, Merkel is heading an uneasy coalition of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the social democratic SPD. But her hopes of ditching the SPD during the run-up to the general election, in favour of the pro-big business Free Democrats, appear to have narrowed down after the disappointing results of three state elections.
Though the Free Democrats also made some gains in the August 30 polls, their general secretary Dirk Niebel appeared nervous that the centre-right camp's strong lead would fizzle.
The CDU has, however, held onto
the eastern state of
Merkel is hoping to win a second term in the general election on September 27, and her CDU has a lead of about 15 per cent in the opinion polls over its present ally cum future rival --- the SPD.
In the recent state level polls, however, the most noteworthy gainer is Die Linke party on the left; it has made some impressive gains in all the three states where elections were held. It secured more than 20 percent of the votes in all the three states taken together, in comparison to the earlier state level polls when it never went beyond a single digit figure.
Die Linke is a relatively new party comprising disaffected SPD members and former East German communists
Die Linke�s leader, Oscar
Lafontaine, described his
party�s success in these polls as "an unprecedented victory in the
of German political parties." Lafontaine is a popular figure in his
Behind Die Linke�s success lie
its clear-cut positions
on the working class grievances and those of older East Germans. "Tax
rich" was, for example, one of its campaign slogans. The party is a
strongly anti-bourgeois party and has a radical programme that includes
like lowering the retirement age, increasing the unemployment benefits,
offering free education. It is also solidly against nuclear power,
Die Linke has stood in clear contrast to the centre-right Christian Democrats as well as the centre-left social democrats whose positions are often indistinguishable from one another on many issues.
Die Linke�s success comes in the
midst of an adverse
campaign in which a number of analysts and others pooh-poohed the
chances in the wake of the
Apart from forging ahead in
Thuringia in the east, Die
Linke made for the first time a real inroad in
After the votes were counted,
German television channel
ARD said, "In two of the three state elections on Sunday, there was a
considerable shift in the balance of power. A change in government from
conservatives to a coalition of the SPD and Left party is possible in
Die Linke has now proposed to have a national level coalition with the SPD. The common talk now is that with this party's and the Green Party's support, the SPD may possibly upturn the present coalition�s cart and form the next government. Obviously, everything now depends on what position the SPD takes.
As it is now, the SPD may well
coalitions in Thuringia and
The SPD's candidate for the chancellor's post in the general elections is Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who is also the deputy chancellor and foreign minister. He has expressed confidence that the coming elections would help turn the tide in his favour. "Those who said that the election was already decided have made a big mistake," he told his cheering supporters. Referring to the colours of Merkel's conservatives and the Free Democrats, he said, "One thing is sure --- this country does not want black-yellow."
On the other hand, CDU general secretary Ronald Pofalla expressed disappointment at the election outcome though he said the SPD would not gain much from the national polls. It is to be noted that the SPD did not make much gain in the elections in all the three states.
Juergen Falter of the
"One third of voters are still undecided for the general election and among them are many potential SPD supporters who, when it comes down to it, will grit their teeth and vote for the SPD. That is why it will be very close on September 27,� he added.
The state level polls have also
that Ms Merkel�s position would be quite weak when she goes to attend
summit in the