German party has big ambitions
Gabi Zimmer the Chair of the Party of Democratic Socialism of Germany (PDS) announced ambitious plans for the party in the elections to be held in Germany on September 22. She said that the PDS aimed to become the number-one party in the east (the former territory of the German Democratic Republic), to double its vote in western Germany and to become the number three party throughout Germany. She said that the PDS feels especially encouraged by the elections in Berlin and recent opinion polls. She said the Party aims to win up to 30 per cent of the vote in the east and up to six and hopefully up to nine per cent nation-wide. "Everything above six per cent [nation-wide] would be a gigantic success because it would show that we have taken more votes in the west." In the east the PDS is on her way to becoming the number one political force, said Gabi Zimmer. The PDS will focus on first-time voters in the campaign. Local elections in 2001 increased the number of full-time mayors held by the PDS from 19 to 32. Of this number, four are in big cities. The party has 199 part-time mayors. Gabi Zimmer rejected speculation that the PDS would become part of a coalition with the Social Democratic Party and the Greens. She said that the PDS was "neither the joker up the SPD's (Social Democrats) sleeve nor a straw the Greens could cling to". A coalition with the Greens was unthinkable for they had disposed of pacifism and were no longer a partner for the PDS due to their support for the international Bundeswehr (German army) missions. Given their current foreign policy, co-operation with the Social Democrats and Green Party was out of the question. The PDS does not stand for saving the present government. It stands for a change in politics Gabi Zimmer said.