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German Left party holds pre-election congress

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German Left party holds pre-election congress
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Delegates at the congress of Germany’s Left party have approved the leadership’s election programme.

The grouping of Socialists and disaffected Social Democats has seen its popularity sag in the opinion polls recently, but it still hopes to become the third biggest party in Germany after next month’s vote. The party’s two main pledges are increasing wages for the working class and putting up taxes for the better-off. One of its leaders, Oskar Lafontaine, launched a stinging attack on his former Social Democrat allies. “The Red-Green coalition has given us wage cuts and pension cuts,” he told the conference. “It has undermined the welfare state while reducing taxes on the rich and on corporations.” “This is not a left-wing government. It’s a centre-right government,” he continued. Commentators predict the Left party will do relatively well in siphoning off votes from its rivals in economically depressed parts of eastern Germany. It could even force the Social Democrats and the opposition conservatives intoa grand coalition if neither side is able to claim an outright majority.