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Social Democratic MP balks at leftist coalition in Hesse

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12:47 CET+01:00
Attempts by the Social Democrats in Hesse to form a minority government are on the brink of failure as state parliamentarians balk at the possibility of working with the socialist the Left Party.

Hesse state parliamentarian for the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), Dagmar Metzger, has rejected state party leader Andrea Ypsilanti's plans to form a minority coalition with the Greens because it would require working with the hard socialist Left Party.

"It was a very matter of fact meeting," said Metzger on Friday after the two met. "But it didn't persuade me to change my mind at all."

On Tuesday Ypsilanti reneged on a campaign promise, saying she wanted to negotiate with the Greens to build a minority alliance tolerated by the ex-communist Left Party. The possible "red-green" minority coalition with the environmentalist Greens would be a possible solution to January's inconclusive state election in Hesse, which left no clear path to forming a government.

If Ypsilanti's "red-green" coalition doesn't work, the SPD will have to consider other options, leaving the structure of the state's government precariously uncertain. The SPD could theoretically achieve a parliamentary majority with the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) and the Greens, or build a grand coalition with the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU). But discussions across party lines have proven difficult, opening the way for a minority government tolerated by the hard-line socialist Left Party.

The issue of how to deal with the Left Party's recent encroachment into western German state parliaments has wracked the SPD in recent weeks. After Social Democrat chairman Kurt Beck told state SPD party organizations they could forge their own alliances with the Left Party, his leadership has come under fire from more centrist SPD members.

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