A political Berlin Wall is being constructed, causing a rift between right and left as there is a strong possibility that today’s elections will see the ex-Communists back in City Hall.
The Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS), ex-Communists, seems set to gain one in five votes in the Berlin state elections today. The fact that a party associated with the building of the Berlin Wall may form part of a ruling coalition has upset many Germans.
Ex-Chancellor Helmut Kohl even made a brief appearance from retirement, to declare that “Berlin is a splendid city that has been exploited like no other in history. We do not want the culprits or their ideological heirs to get another chance."
However, the PDS claims that by being present in a coalition government, the party could make a valuable contribution towards uniting a city which has never been fully reunited. Party campaign leader Gregor Gysi, said “I stand for bridges, not walls” and claimed that the PDS cannot be blamed for past acts. “I was 13 when the wall was built, so I cannot be blamed”.
The current stand-in mayor is Klaus Wowereit of the Social Democratic Party, which is expected to receive up to 36% of the vote (up from 22% in the last election), witness to his successful “New beginning” campaign. The Christian Democratic Union is expected to receive only 26% of the vote because the leader, Frank Steffel, has made no impact on the population. The PDS will be in third place if it receives the 20% of votes forecast.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru LISBON PORTUGAL
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