Before the 2005 election the successor of the Communist party of the DDR (SED), PDS, created a partnership with a minor left formation based in the western part of Germany. This occasion influenced the party’s policy platform significantly. Comparing the manifesto of the Linke in 2005 with that of the PDS in the 2002 election campaign, the shift towards challenging the SPD is evident. The party softened its pacifist and protest profile as well as its image as the party of former communists from the DDR. Although the party does not share the main goal of European integration, as the other relevant parties do, its manifesto proposes deepening of the integration particularly in its environmental, social and labour dimensions. The EU’s final form should be based on fairness, solidarity, and democratic values. While the party supports the general idea of European integration, the current neoliberal and non-democratic direction of the EU must be changed. Therefore, the EU Constitutional Treaty must be approved in a general referendum. The party supports the enlargement process and argues that Turkey should join the EU as soon as possible. The manifesto rejects the privatisation of state companies as well as an increasing role for capitalism.
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Election manifesto 2005
The manifesto still emphasizes its DDR identity; Die Linke profiles itself as the only political party that will defend the interests of excluded people from East Germany. The development of the eastern part of Germany must be considered in the context of the EU enlargement process. Contrary to other parties, Die Linke stresses the rights of national minorities living in Germany; namely Danes and Sorbs. Generally speaking, the national minorities are discriminated against in Germany. Therefore, immigration policy must respect human rights. The asylum process must be simplified in the European context as well and all illegal immigrants should have right to regularise their status in the EU.
Election manifesto 2009
The election manifestos reacted to the deepening economic crisis at that time in various policy fields. Die Linke claimed that the EU was actively involved in the neoliberal economic order and that therefore, the core idea of integration had to be changed. It further argued that the EU must pay attention to its social dimension; instead of the four basic EU freedoms, social standards must be harmonised and deepened. The EU should avoid constructing its policies according to the wishes of transnational companies. In foreign policy, the EU must deconstruct its aggressive image; Frontex should be abolished as well as weapon exports. Focusing on the global economy, Germany was also guilty for the financial collapse. Therefore, the economic policy should not be used in favour of bank institutions, but for people. Social development should avoid any further commercialization and service global financial market. The dominance of financial markets is a very important reason why civic rights should be strengthened such as wide usage of referenda.
Immigration policy should respect the equality of all individuals. Therefore, the rights of immigrants should be strengthened as well as their social and educational status. The current implemented educational system uproots the immigrants from their natural environment which must be respected. Immigrants should gain active as well as passive voting rights.
NATO was perceived as a military club for worldwide intervention. Foreign policy should be based primarily of human rights support, democratization of world politics and abolition of military weapon proliferation as well.
Election manifesto 2013
The 2013 election manifesto follows both previous manifestos in stressing the social dimension of the EU integration and pacifist aspects as well. Interestingly, the manifesto supports interventions of the efforts of the ECB to rescue the banking institutions of national states. Although the party still rejects the current integration process in. order to rescue national states, it admits the ECB’s financial support. The manifesto develops the European Commission’s role in this field towards supranational deepening as well. The Commission, as the manifesto proposes, should be able to control national states’ budgetary policy. In this respect, Die Linke supports the Euro as a common currency for the whole EU.
The immigration policy follows the previous manifestos’ direction as well. The immigrants should be granted integration support in their mother tongue and voting rights as well. The quota for immigrants coming to Germany should be abolished; people of Turkish nationality should enjoy the same benefits as EU citizens have. The state should be a guarantor for the cultivation of social diversity. In foreign policy, the manifesto rejects the use of power in international relations. The EU should avoid creating any military forces and the German army should be reduced significantly.