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SPD rebels block Hesse left-wing coalition

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SPD rebels block Hesse left-wing coalition
The four SPD rebels in Wiesbaden. Photo: DPA
15:16 CET+01:00
Rebel Social Democrats derailed the formation of a left-wing minority government in the German state of Hesse on Monday amid ongoing opposition to cooperating with the hard-line socialist Left party.

One day before the leader of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in Hesse, Andrea Ypsilanti, had hoped to be elected state premier, four members of the SPD parliamentary group said they would not support her a at vote scheduled for Tuesday. The decision leaves Ypsilanti short of the votes needed to back a minority government with the environmental Greens.

“We have made an extremely difficult decision. We informed SPD state chairperson Andrea Ypsilanti that we cannot support forming a red-green minority government backed by the votes of the Left party,” Carmen Everts, one of the four MPs told a press conference in Wiesbaden. “We make this public announcement aware of the consequences.”

Ypsilanti has tried for months to cobble together a left-wing coalition that would rely upon the support of the populist Left party, which would not formally join her government. Her first attempt to oust the incumbent conservative-led state government of premier Roland Koch failed this spring after some Social Democrats expressed reservations about reneging on a campaign promise not to work with the far-left.

But the decision by the rebel MPs would appear to sink any hope of Ypsilanti taking power in Hesse. The Greens had warned the Social Democrats that failure to back the minority government this week would jeopardize cooperation between the two parties in the state in the future.

The Greens' national chairperson Claudia Roth accused the Hessian SPD of “failing disastrously” and being “politically incompetent.” She said Social Democrats had made themselves irrelevant in state politics for a long time to come.

SPD chairman Franz Müntefering admitted the incident was a “heavy blow” for the Hessian Social Democrats, but dismissed that it would have any national implications for next year's general election. The SPD leadership has been adamant that there was no basis to work with the Left party nationally.

“There will not be any cooperation with the Left at the federal level,” Müntefering said in Berlin on Monday. “Definitely not.”

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