Social Democrats demand leftward lurch

Social Democrats demand leftward lurch
Photo: DPA
Leading members of Germany’s centre-left Social Democrats are demanding the party tack to the left on economic issues in light of the continuing success of the hard-line socialist Left Party.

The Tuesday edition of the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper reported that some 60 people belonging to the SPD’s left wing have signed an open letter calling for the renunciation of the party’s more centrist economic policies in recent years.

“The political decisions of recent years” are responsible for “the growing division between poor and rich” in Germany, according to the letter in an apparent reference to the painful economic and welfare reforms sanctioned by the SPD.

The left wingers also blamed the reform package known as “Agenda 2010” implemented by former SPD boss and Chancellor Gerhard Schröder for causing “growing fears of poverty among the middle class and reducing the chances to get ahead.”

Embattled SPD party leader Kurt Beck reportedly called the position paper “an important contribution” to the Social Democrats campaign platform for next year’s general election after it was presenting at party leadership meeting on Monday.

The SPD has struggled in recent years to define itself as the junior partner in the coalition of conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel amid the rise of the socialist Left Party.