Left aims for the centre in first government

Left-wing politicians in Thuringia have tried to placate centrist voters in their programme for the first state government led by the Linke (Left) party, the former East German Communist Party.

Left aims for the centre in first government
Thüringen party leaders, from left to right: Susann Hennig-Wellsow (Linke), Dieter Lauinger (Greens), Andreas Bausewein (SPD). Photo: DPA

"Red-Red-Green [Linke, Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens] won't do everything differently, but a lot better," Linke lead negotiator Susann Hennig-Wellsow said at the presentation of the programme on Thursday.

The three-way alliance must present a likeable face to the public after protests against the SPD and Greens supporting the Linke, seen as a successor party to the East German Socialist Unity Party (SED).

That might be why the preamble to the agreement includes a recognition of the injustices of the German Democratic Republic.

Hennig-Wellsow said that the new government led by Linke state leader Bodo Ramelow – the first Linke leader to manage a German state since 1989 – would be an "alliance for reform".

The parties were also keen to project the image of a responsible hand on the tiller.

"We are united on the point that with Red-Red-Green there will be no new debts," SPD state leader Andreas Bausewein said.

"It's clear to us that we can't implement everything that we undertook immediately," Green leader Dieter Lauinger said.

Politicians had previously made promises of a free year of childcare (Kita) in the state.

There are also plans to reform security services (Verfassungsschutz), which failed to spot connections between murders committed by the far-right National Socialist Underground (NSU) based in Jena.

With a majority of just one vote in the state legislature, the triple alliance will have its work cut out to push all of its planned reforms through.

Ramelow is expected to be confirmed as state president on December 5th.

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