The Guardian July 17, 2002


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.

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