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Germany

Former Communists Enjoy Surge in Popularity

For the third week in a row, the Party of Democratic Socialists has watched its popularity ratings climb. The former communist party, which failed to amass the critical 5 percent hurdle to enter Germany's parliament in the last general elections in 2002, is now benefiting from the public's general frustration with Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's party of Social Democrats. Since the so-called Monday demonstrations against the government's planned reform of the welfare system have taken place, the PDS has seen its approval rating go up. According to the pollster group Forsa, seven percent of Germans would vote for the PDS if national elections were on Sunday. The mainstream parties would remain constant in their ratings: the Social Democrats would receive 26 percent of the vote, the opposition Christian Democrats Union would get 42 percent and the neo-liberal Free Democrats would garner 8 percent. Only the Greens would see their approval drop by one percentage point down to 12 percent. The survey polled 2,504 eligible voters.

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