Headaches after the vote in Thuringia

Premier Bodo Ramelow's Left Party has won the elections to the state parliament in Thuringia. With 31 percent of the vote this is the first time that it has emerged as the strongest party in a state election. The former Left Party-SPD-Green Party coalition lost its majority, however. In second place came the right-wing populist AfD with roughly 23 percent. Commentators ask if it's time for an unconventional alliance.

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Magyar Nemzet (HU) /

Left Party could be near a breakthrough

Magyar Nemzet outlines how difficult the process of forming a government will be:

“More than half of the Thuringians' votes went to two extremist protest parties. None of the political parties is willing to join up with the AfD. Meanwhile the Left Party, which expresses the attitude of east Germans and their frustration with west Germany, has never been regarded as a potential coalition partner by the Christian Democrats until now. If that changes it would be a breakthrough in German politics. The radical Left has already achieved a breakthrough this year: after the election in Bremen it became part of the government of a state in west Germany for the first time ever.”

Berliner Zeitung (DE) /

No more taboos!

For Jochen Arntz, editor-in-chief of the Berliner Zeitung, serious thought should indeed be given to a Left-CDU coalition:

“An unusual government that would for now protect Thuringia from becoming ungovernable - and also offer the opportunity to break with the standard left-right mentality and overcome the growing polarisation in the country. It should be remembered that Bodo Ramelow, a generally pragmatic leftist, never entirely ruled out this possibility. Now it's up to the CDU in Thuringia - and no doubt the CDU in Berlin too - to face the challenge, give up taboos and overcome polarisation - in order to avoid leaving a society and the future to a party that believes in nothing but polarisation: the AfD.”

Bild (DE) /

CDU must not lose its credibility

Bild, on the other hand, is appalled at the idea of an alliance between the Left Party and the CDU:

“Yes, Bodo Ramelow may be a nice person, and not as politically blinded as others in his party. But you can't consider Ramelow separately from the Left Party. This is the party that refuses to clearly designate the GDR as one where the rule of law was not maintained. A party in which old cadres of the SED [the Socialist governing party of the GDR] still live a pleasant life, a party with which brutal dictators like Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela make pacts and which sends delegations to Syria's butcher Assad. For a CDU that doesn't want to come across as entirely untrustworthy and opportunistic, there can be only one answer to invitations to form a coalition with the Left Party: No!”

Le Soir (BE) /

The dams are breaking

An ominous trend continues with the surge in votes for the AfD in Thuringia and the Lega in Umbria, Le Soir notes:

“Britain has become caught up in a never-ending Brexit saga, the EU Commission won't manage to take office in the allotted time, Merkel's grand coalition threatens to collapse. ... The more the far right advances, the weaker its opponents become! How can this fatal driving force be countered? Many turn to the 'Macron' experience. Yet one catches oneself feeling glad that the presidential elections are still far off, so great is the fear that the French dam could break, too.”

Mladá fronta dnes (CZ) /

AfD the only party that is truly different

In a commentary for Mladá fronta dnes political scientist Petr Robejšek makes no bones about sympathising with the AfD:

“Since the founding of the AfD all parties have behaved according to the same pattern: all for one, one for all, and all against the AfD. In the same way all the German parties share the same views on today's fundamental issues, with the exception of the AfD. They all prescribe the same medicine, only in different doses. Only the AfD has a truly different programme, which allows it to attract dissatisfied voters.”