Name:

Pozice PDS v německém stranickém systému

Position of the PDS in the German Party System

Author:

Otto Eibl (eibl@seznam_cz)

Abstract:

This paper discusses the position of the PDS (Partei des Demokratischen Sozialismus, the post-communist successor of the SED – Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands) in the German party system. The author describes the evolution of the PDS (or more precisely SED) during late 80s and early 90s when, against the background of the “Wende-events” (the breakup of the communist regime), the party began its search for a “new” identity. On the basis of the PDS’s regional election results, the author argues that PDS has a triple identity, which reflects the character of the different parts of Germany: While in the east (the former GDR states) the PDS plays the role of a strong “traditional” party and their program represents “post-Wende” eastern interests, in the west the PDS plays the role of “protest party”, and/or the role of an alternative to the SPD. On the national level the PDS must play all of these roles.

The “fuzzy” ideology/program of the PDS was one of the reasons for its downfall in the 2002 Bundestag-elections. For the 2005 Bundestag-elections the PDS-leaders decided to make a coalition with the “western” left-wing WASG (Arbeit & soziale Gerechtigkeit – Die Wahlalternative): Die Linke.PDS. The decision to form a coalition with a “western” partner was important for the electoral success (which was achieved partly due to former top SPD politician Oskar Lafontaine`s leadership of the Saarland-branch of Die Linke.PDS), and this seems to be the way to effectively address voters in the eastern, and even in the western German states, and to solidify a “universal” (“German-wide”) identity.

 Keywords: PDS, elections, party identity, Ostalgia.

(the full version is downloadable zde here)

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