BERLIN (JTA) — The Left Party ran strong in German regional elections, sending a strong message to the current government.
On Sunday, less than a month before national elections, the Left garnered about 20 percent of the vote in the states of Saxony and Thuringia in the former East Germany, and in Saarland in the former West Germany. The party is calling for a withdrawal of German troops from Afghanistan, higher taxes for the rich and closer ties with Russia.
Meanwhile, the country’s main neo-Nazi party barely clung to its seats in the Saxony State Parliament. The National Democratic Party of Germany, weakened by internal scandals, earned 5.2 percent of the vote in Saxony, down from 9.2 percent five years ago.
The right-wing party, with its xenophoic campaign, appeared to maintain its appeal to young, uneducated male voters.
Looking ahead to national elections on Sept. 27, observers say the national governing coalition of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Christian Democratic Union, and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his Social Democratic Party is most threatened by the increased support for the Left Party of Oskar Lafontaine.