The Corner

Honecker Smiles

So, it looks as if a party linked to Germany’s totalitarian past is going to take over a German regional government. I look forward to hearing the outrage from all over the EU.

The Financial Times explains:

Germany’s far-left Die Linke party, heir to the communist-era Socialist Unity Party (SED) of East Germany (GDR), is set to take charge of a regional government in the country for the first time after Social Democrat and Green leaders backed coalition talks.

If, as expected, SPD and Green party members back the plan, Bodo Ramelow, the Linke leader in Thuringia, is likely to be appointed as the federal state’s prime minister after his party consolidated its position as the second biggest group in the state diet behind chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU in September’s regional elections….

Critics shun Linke for its communist antecedents and the presence in its ranks of former members of the Stasi, the GDR’s security police.

Mainstream parties also reject its anti-capitalist economic policies and criticism of Germany foreign policy, including EU and Nato membership.

Just before the election, Ms Merkel warned Thuringia’s voters not to “let Karl Marx back into the state premier’s office”. . . .

Mr Ramelow, a 58-year-old former trade union official from western Germany, never belonged to the SED. However, before the fall of the Berlin Wall he was kept under surveillance by West German security services over alleged contacts with the German Communist party (DKP).

The left-of-center SPD, which is Merkel’s coalition partner at the national level, is claiming that its alliance with the Linke will not bring the two parties closer together in the national parliament (probably true, for now), but its attitude should be contrasted with that of Merkel who will have nothing to do with the new and (mildly) euroskeptic and populist/conservative AfD.

Some dissidents are more acceptable to the German political establishment than others, it seems. Links to Communist dictatorship, well okay if you must, rejection of the single currency — absolutely not . . .

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