Greens, E. German Leftists Join Election Forces
United in their doubts about German reunification, radical leftists from East and West have formed a coalition of convenience to better their chances in the all-German elections on Dec. 2.
At a weekend congress in the Bavarian city of Bayreuth, West Germany’s Greens party and East Germany’s Alliance 90 joined forces for the coming campaign and ruled out cooperation with the left-of-center Social Democrats.
Both the Greens and the East German leftists oppose the reunification set for Oct. 3. Their members of Parliament last week attempted, in vain, to scuttle the treaty defining terms of the merger. Both German legislatures approved the accord by wide margins.
Swimming against the tide that has swept the two nations together since East Germany’s revolt against communism last fall, the far-left activists have denounced reunification as a sellout of East German assets to the wealthy West.
Unity is dangerously encouraging “faith in authority and nationalist sentiment,” West German Greens member Frieder Otto Wolf complained at the congress.
Greens Chairman Christian Stroebele criticized the Social Democrats for supporting reunification, suggesting they had repeated their mistake of 1914 in supporting policies that promoted German aggression and the outbreak of World War I.
The Social Democrats and a Greens sister party are allied in governing West Berlin, and a nationwide coalition had been discussed as a last-ditch effort to win control of the government of united Germany.
But West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s Christian Democrats are strongly favored to win the first all-German ballot, as long as they can hold together the current coalition with liberal Free Democrats and the conservative Christian Social Union of Bavaria.
An opinion poll published last week in Der Spiegel magazine showed the current governing alliance with 52% of voter support. The Social Democrats earned 39% in the survey, with the Greens trailing the political pack with 7%.
Greens hold 42 seats in the 519-member West German Bundestag, the result of a respectable 8.3% polling in the last elections held in 1987.
But their opposition to reunification is likely to hurt them in this year’s election, and party leaders concede that even with Alliance 90 they will be lucky to win 10%.
The feisty Greens and their new East German partners also differ on how to balance ecology and economics.
While both parties unite environmentalists, pacifists and feminists, the East German politicians are preoccupied with the economic disaster that has propelled reunification and with the threat of mass unemployment once the two states are joined.