1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites
Bodo Ramelow
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/M. Schutt

First ever for modern Germany

October 20, 2014

Something's stirring in the state of Thuringia. It could very soon become the first state in the Federal Republic of Germany to have a Socialist Left Party candidate take over as state premier. Reactions are mixed.


No obstacles should stand in the way now, as the Social Democrats - vote winners in the state election five weeks ago - announced Monday evening in Erfurt that they were willing to enter negotiations with the Greens and the Left.

This means Bodo Ramelow (pictured), candidate for the Left Party, would become premier in the eastern state of Thuringia.

Andreas Bausewein, designated by the Social Democrats for the top position, said his party had voted unanimously for the trio coalition, and for Ramelow, referring to their plan as "something that's never been tried before."

Doubly unprecedented

That the state premier would come from the Left - which has become a kind of habitual opposition seat-occupant in federal and state parliaments around Germany - isn't the only reason the proposed Thuringia coalition would be unique.

No state has ever been governed by this constellation of parties; the Green party has sided with the Social Democrats, the Social Democrats with the Left, but never the Social Democrats, the Greens and the Left all at once.

"You still have a chance, you still have the power in your hands," implored outgoing conservative (CDU) State Premier Christine Lieberknecht in front of Social Democrat state lawmakers on Monday. "You can help reason prevail and prevent a Left-led government in Thuringia from destroying the positive developments of the past years."

Thuringia's Social Democrats could still enter a coalition with the CDU, which is Chancellor Angela Merkel's party in Berlin. That coalition, however, would have had a comparably slight majority to the proposed trio, just over 50 percent.

'Bad timing'

Left party chairman Susanne Hennig-Wellsow welcomed the unanimous support shown by the SPD, calling it an "unequivocal signal that the government has to be changed in Thuringia, and that there are strong similarities between all three parties."

In Berlin, meanwhile, the mood was decidedly less bubbly. Wolfgang Bosbach, head of the parliamentary committee on internal affairs, expressed deep concern at the development in Thuringia, citing both political and historical arguments.

"I would call it a bitter moment in history," Bosbach told the daily Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung in an interview to be published Tuesday, "for the SPD to choose now, 25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, to lend its support to Left party candidate Bodo Ramelow for the premiership."

The Left party is the successor organization to the SED, the communist political party that led Eastern Germany untouched for the entirety of the German Democratic Republic (GDR).

"It would indeed be a very bitter moment for the victims of the GDR regime to see a candidate of the SED successor at the head of their state government," Bosbach concluded.

glb/slk (DPA, AFP)

Skip next section DW's Top Story

DW's Top Story

King Charles addresses the German Bundestag

King Charles lauds German-UK relations in Bundestag speech

Skip next section More stories from DW
Go to homepage