ABSTRACT

The origins and development of the PDS/DL On 16 June 2007 the German party Die Linke (DL) emerged as a result of the merger between the Partei des Demokratischen Sozialismus (Party of Democratic Socialism, PDS) and the Wahlalternative: Arbeit und Soziale Gerechtigkeit (The Electoral Alternative for Work and Social Justice, WASG). The PDS, in turn, was the successor of the communist and authoritarian Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschands (Socialist Unity Party of Germany, SED). The SED was the governing party in the former Deutsche Demokratische Republik (German Democratic Republic, DDR). As one of the most dogmatic communist parties, it had massively violated human and civil rights. When Gorbachev announced perestroika and Glasnost and the Berlin Wall fell on 9 November 1989, the SED was hence forced to change drastically. With German citizens now being able to articulate their thoughts freely and a range of political alternatives available, the future for the SED looked dramatic. The 900,000 members giving back their party books at the end of 1989 was a clear indication (Hough, Koss and Olsen, 2007).