• Germany's news in English

SPD refuses Left invitation to opposition summit

DDP/The Local · 4 Jul 2010, 15:58

Published: 04 Jul 2010 15:58 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

SPD chairman Sigmar Gabriel dismissed the suggestion from The Left's boss Klaus Ernst as "an expression of complete helplessness."

Germany's opposition parties - SPD, the Greens, and The Left party – criticized each other heavily following last Wednesday's missed opportunity to elect an alternative presidential candidate to the post of German president.

Merkel's favoured candidate, Christian Wulff, was only elected after three rounds of voting in the German parliament, and many observers believed that her government could have been forced into early elections if her choice had lost.

Ernst was the first opposition leader to hold out an olive branch to his opposite numbers, saying, "The opposition needs a new beginning too. The government is wobbling, and the opposition is bickering because no-one wants to lead or mediate."

But Thomas Opperman, parliamentary speaker for the SPD, said that Ernst's invitation "should not be taken too seriously." Oppermann claimed that The Left party's decision not to back the SPD and Green party's favoured presidential candidate Joachim Gauck had left it "completely isolated."

Ernst argued that people expected the opposition to show more unity on important questions like welfare cutbacks or health insurance reform. "We have to talk about that," he said.

Gabriel said that The Left party must first clarify whether it is a party of the past – a descendent of the SED, the communist party that ruled East Germany – or a democratic party of the future.

But the SPD boss did indicate his party would be willing to cooperate with a more "pragmatic" Left party in a potential coalition including the Greens. If "democrats, pragmatists, and realists" were to assert themselves in The Left party, Gabriel said, "then there is enough common ground with the SPD for coalition talks on a federal and state level."

Story continues below…

Green party headquarters told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper that they had not received an invitation to any summit from The Left, but would consider it if one came. It added that policy talks had taken place between the two parties.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

21:04 July 4, 2010 by vonSchwerin
The Left party, formerly PDS, formerly SED, formerly KPD, has done this before.

In 1925, the KPD insisted on running its own candidate for president, Ernst Thaelmann, even though he had no chance of winning. He did receive 2 million votes, which enabled archconservative Paul von Hindenberg to defeat the center-left candidate Wihelm Marx by 900,000 votes.

The far left's ego and self-righteous claims to ideological purity seemed to have outweighed their concern for the republic and their wish to have a left-of-center president. After the presidential election catastrophe, some party leaders felt that they might have made a mistake, and they wanted to offer an olive branch to the SPD (though some party radicals opposed that).

Oh, I'm taking about 1925. I know it's hard to tell.
00:20 July 7, 2010 by panzercommandant@live.com
Today's headlines
Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

Eurowings cabin crew union to strike all day Thursday
Photo: DPA.

UPDATE: A union representing cabin crews on Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings has announced that strikes will last all day Thursday as ongoing contract negotiations continue to falter.

Hesse hopes to set example by building Iraqi orphanages
Refugee children in northern Iraq. Photo: DPA

The wealthy central German state of Hesse has set aside €1 million to build a school, family homes and an orphanage in northern Iraq, in an effort to help refugees there.

The Local List
10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
David Hasselhoff. Photo: DPA

Whether it be efficiency, humourlessness or a love of a certain Baywatch star, there are many cliches stuck in the heads of foreigners about Germany. But how true are they?

Fake Germanwings victim relative convicted in Cologne
A torn piece of metal at the crash site in 2015. Photo: DPA

A German court on Wednesday gave a woman a year's suspended jail sentence for posing as the cousin of a victim in last year's Germanwings plane crash and obtaining compensation offered by the airline.

Couple accused of torturing, murdering women go on trial
The so-called 'house of horrors' in Höxter where the couple allegedly tortured and killed women. Photo: DPA.

A couple accused of luring women to their village home with personal ads started trial on Wednesday over charges that they tortured and killed at least two of their victims.

After July attacks, govt drafts new video surveillance law
Photo: DPA

The Interior Ministry is drafting a law which will enable public spaces to be filmed for surveillance purposes as a reaction to deadly attacks in July, according to a newspaper report.

Merkel: murky internet giants distort perception of reality
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA.

Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Tuesday for internet giants to make public their closely-guarded algorithms, claiming that they are not giving people diverse enough information.

Pegida leader 'paid court costs with group's money'
Pegida leader Lutz Bachmann. Photo: DPA.

The leader of the anti-Islam movement reportedly used money from Pegida's coffers to pay for two personal court cases, German media reported this week.

Anger as Berlin scraps Turkey concert on Armenia genocide
The Dresden Symphony Orchestra. Photo: DPA

Germany's foreign ministry Tuesday scrapped a planned symphony performance on the Armenian "genocide" in its Istanbul consulate, sparking accusations that it was caving in to Turkish pressure.

10 ways German completely messes up your English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd