Labour and Social Justice – The Electoral Alternative

Left-wing German political party / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Labour and Social Justice – The Electoral Alternative (German: Arbeit und soziale Gerechtigkeit – Die Wahlalternative, WASG) was a left-wing German political party founded in 2005 by activists disenchanted with the ruling Red-Green coalition government. On 16 June 2007 WASG merged with Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) to form The Left (Die Linke). At the time of its merger with The Left Party. PDS, WASG party membership stood at about 11,600 members.[citation needed]

Quick facts: Labour and Social Justice – The Electoral Alt...
Labour and Social Justice – The Electoral Alternative
Arbeit und soziale Gerechtigkeit – Die Wahlalternative
LeaderKlaus Ernst, Thomas Händel, Christine Buchholz, Axel Troost
Founded22 January 2005 (2005-01-22)
Dissolved16 June 2007 (2007-06-16)
Split fromSocial Democratic Party of Germany
Merged intoThe Left
HeadquartersKönigswarter Straße 16
D-90762 Fürth
IdeologyDemocratic socialism
Trade unionism[1]
Political positionLeft-wing

The party ran for the first time in the 2005 state election of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's most populous state and a stronghold of the governing Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), with pastor Jürgen Klute as its front-runner. The party campaigned against what it considered "the neoliberal consensus" displayed by the governing centre-left political parties and the centre-right opposition alike. Some of its main issues were opposition to cuts in provision of social benefits and to the favourable taxation of the wealthy. In the first few months of existence, it received a large amount of news coverage, and had its first national convention from 6 May until 8 May 2005.

Oskar Lafontaine, a former major figure on the left wing of the SPD, joined the new party officially on 18 June 2005, and became their North Rhine-Westphalia frontrunner for the general election on 18 September 2005. As the necessary steps for a merger with the PDS could not be taken fast enough, he advocated an electoral alliance with WASG members on the PDS's list, to which the WASG and PDS leaderships in principle agreed on 10 June 2005. The title of this list was The Left Party.PDS, which to this end - as a matter of formality - was adopted by the PDS as its new name, because changing a name was comparatively easy.

The anticipated fusion was later made official, with the WASG and The Left Party. PDS merging on 16 June 2007 to a party called simply The Left (Die Linke) or also, colloquially, "the Left Party" (without ".PDS").