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Monday, May 23, 2022

The clash of the left helps the SPD

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Oskar Lafontaine, of all people, could have paved the way back to power for the SPD. The now 78-year-old, who ruled the Saarland for 13 years as SPD Prime Minister and then broke with his party, stood in the way of the Saarland Social Democrats for a long time. In 2009 he led the Saarland Left Party, of which he was a co-founder, as the main candidate with a sensational 21.3 percent.

Since then, the left and Lafontaine in Saarland have slowly but steadily gone downhill. But so far “Oskar”, as he is only called in Saarland, has always been able to wrest enough votes from his former party to keep them away from the state chancellery in Saarbrücken.

In 2022, however, the conditions were different. For the first time in decades, Lafontaine was not on the ballot and, after ostensibly leaving in the middle of the electoral campaign, he now has two former parties in his biography. After a long guerrilla war that included a factional split in the state parliament, the left has been threatened with extra-parliamentary opposition for the first time since 2009, and many observers have been buzzing for a long time.

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With only 2.5 percent in the first forecast (ZDF), it will no longer be enough for the party, which still received 12.8 percent in 2017. For the left, which was almost expelled from the Bundestag in the fall and now he is dissecting his understanding of Russia, the next big setback.

Even with the Saarland Greens, the resignation of a former state president ruined the final sprint. Ralph Rouget was only head of the Greens for five days last year, but his return from the party book just two days before the polls confirmed the charge that has accompanied the Greens in the Saar for years: they are hopelessly divided.

Years of intrigue between the Greens

Leading candidate Lisa Becker, who ran only two months ago and is largely unknown even in little Saarland, repeatedly evoked the peace of the new party. But the old intrigues and cliques, which long-time state president Hubert Ulrich had cultivated, have not left the Greens untouched.

Lisa Becker doesn’t just have to promote confidence outside of her party.Photo: IMAGO/BeckerBredel

However, after being sent off in 2017, this time it could be enough for the Greens. According to initial forecasts, the Greens were at six percent, although they may have lost some votes from the socio-ecological camp to the “Bunt Saar” voters’ association.

At the Berlin party headquarters, one hopes that the Greens will also make it to the 16th state parliament and thus finally emancipate themselves from Ulrich. In Berlin they have prepared for all eventualities. In case there are coalition negotiations, they want to send experienced negotiating staff to Saarbrücken. The new federal presidents, Ricarda Lang and Omid Nouripour, have each been seen once during the election campaign in Saarland. Selfies, praise for the main candidate Becker, some words of confidence. Mandatory, but no more. Berlin cannot be held responsible for a failure, it is said with a view to the significantly better poll results in the federal government.

The FDP wanted a coalition with the SPD – now it has to shake

The truth is that the Saarland has never been easy for the FDP and the Greens. 5.9, 5.0, 4.0 percent have been the election results for the Greens since 2009. 9.3, 1.3 and 3.3 for the FDP, long blamed for the failure of the Jamaican government in 2012.

This time, too, the liberals around the leading candidate Angelika Hießerich-Peter have to shake for a long time. 4.8 percent said at 6 pm A hotel manager campaigned as a volunteer, with no press team and almost no employees. More recently, Hießerich-Peter campaigned for a social-liberal coalition with the SPD. But if the FDP does not make it to parliament, the Social Democrats may even govern alone.

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