Saturday, September 24, 2005

Understanding The German Elections Part 5

The Grass Isn't Always Greener: German Greens spurn CDU alliance

But of more interest than that, is this:
Meanwhile, a senior German official in charge of the archive of the East German secret police, or Stasi, claims at least seven of the new MPs elected on Sunday used to work unofficially for the force.

Marianne Birthler told the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung newspaper that the seven were all members of the left-wing Die Linke - Left party - which is due to get 54 seats in the new parliament after winning nearly nine per cent of the vote.

She has called for all new German parliamentarians to face obligatory background checks, which should be made public.

Court order

The Left party is a mix of disgruntled former Social Democrats and former East German communists.

One of its co-leaders, Gregor Gysi, has often faced and denied allegations that he worked for the Stasi. Earlier this month he secured a court order to stop his file being made public.

The Left has been shunned by both the SPD and CDU in the efforts to form a new coalition this week.

This means there is a bloc of 54 MPs in the Bundestag who are not available for building a new coalition - which is why the other parties are finding it so difficult to form a new government, our correspondent says.
The Left Party holds three more seats than the Greens:
1. Christian Democrats/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU): 225
2. Social Democrats (SPD): 222
3. Free Democrats (FDP): 61
4. Left Party: 54
5. Greens: 51