SPD’s Ypsilanti abandons bid to become premier in Hesse

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SPD’s Ypsilanti abandons bid to become premier in Hesse

Andrea Ypsilanti, the leader of Hesse's Social Democrats, has abandoned her bid to become the German state’s premier after a renegade MP torpedoed her attempts to form a government with the support of the hard-line socialist Left Party.


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

But Hessian SPD state parliamentarian Dagmar Metzger rejected Ypsilanti's plans to rely on the Left Party, which was formed from the successor to the East Germany communist party and disgruntled western Social Democrats.

“We cannot take this path, since there are parliamentarians with us that will not go down this path,” Ypsilanti said in a statement. “This is why I will not stand for election, as I cannot guarantee a majority.”

With Ypsilanti's "red-green" minority coalition shelved, Hessian politicians will have to consider other options for forging a government. 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, which led Ypsilanti to pursue 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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