Thuringia's November revolution
It may become the first state run by the heirs of East Germany's communists
Ramelow on the high road to power
NEXT weekend Germany celebrates the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Yet a few days before that, Die Linke (The Left), the party that descends from the communists who ran the old East Germany, may take charge of one of reunified Germany's 16 states (Thuringia) for the first time.
The mainstream parties treat The Left as pariahs in the federal Bundestag. The party jeers from the backbenches and fights internal vendettas. It hates capitalism and wants to scrap NATO. In debates over Ukraine many Leftists have blamed America more than Russia's Vladimir Putin. Their parliamentary leader, Gregor Gysi, refuses to call the East German regime an “unjust state”.
左党一直被主流政党视为德国联邦议院的贱民，因为其后座议员的地位以及党内斗争而受到其他政党的嘲笑。他们厌恶资本主义并打算让北约解体。在乌克兰之争中， 许多左派人士倾向于指责美国而不是俄罗斯。左党的议会领袖Gregor Gysi拒绝称东德政权是一个“不公正的国家”。
In state and local governments in eastern Germany, however, The Left has become a home for many Ossis (Easterners), who tend to be apolitical and feel vaguely frustrated. They vote Left partly for reasons of “Ostalgie”. In Brandenburg The Left governs boringly as junior partner in a “red-red” coalition with the Social Democrats (SPD). But Thuringia presents a new opportunity. In its election in September the Christian Democrats (CDU), the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, came first, with 33%. But The Left came a strong second with 28%. It could now eke out a tiny majority if it combined with the other two left-leaning parties: the SPD and the Greens.
To many on Germany's centre-left such a “red-red-green” alliance is the holy grail at the federal level to replace governments led by Mrs Merkel. In Thuringia (as in the rest of Germany) the CDU rules in coalition with the SPD. The SPD has paid dearly there, winning a meagre 12% of the vote in September. So the state's Social Democrats want to try joining with The Left and the Greens instead. Thuringia's 4,300 SPD members are expected to say yes to the idea on November 4th. The Left could lead its first-ever state government by December.
Its premier would be Bodo Ramelow. A western transplant in Thuringia, he personally brings no baggage from East German times. And although he was a firebrand unionist once, he counts as a moderate by The Left's standards. Thuringians fret less about him than about the stability of a government that would have only a one-seat majority.
The overarching question is whether a red-red-green government in Thuringia could foreshadow a similar experiment in the Bundestag (albeit with an SPD chancellor). It would be much harder to do in national politics, where foreign and security policy cleaves a wide gulf between the two red parties. And yet the SPD is in a terrible bind. Increasingly, it merely holds the stirrups for others to mount: Mrs Merkel in Berlin, now Mr Ramelow in Erfurt. The SPD's thirst for national power may yet force it to turn to The Left in the Bundestag.
现在首要的问题在于出现在图林根的红红绿政府是否同样会出现在联邦议会中（尽管现在由社民党执政）。这种情况在国家政治中更难实现，因为这两个红色政党在外交和安全政策上存在巨大的鸿沟。但社民党处于可怕的窘境中。它逐渐让其他政党顺势上位：柏林的基民盟，现在埃尔福特的左党。社民党党对国家权力的极度渴望可能会迫使他转向联邦议院的左党。 译者：胡雅琳 校对：王颖