These days it is easier to find remnants of the Berlin Wall and the exhaust-spewing East German Trabant in a museum than in Europe’s most powerful capital. Yet only a two-hour drive away, the Left Party, the successors to the former communists, are poised to gain power in the state of Thuringia, a cradle of German history ranging from Bach to Bauhaus.
Twenty-five years after the Cold War, Germany has emerged as an economic powerhouse within a once-divided Europe, but many citizens in former East Germany (or the German Democratic Republic) have not found a political home within the traditional parties of western democracies. Instead, voters in the five German states once behind the Iron Curtain are gravitating toward the extreme right and left. Recent elections in Thuringia, Brandenburg and Sachsen put the Left Party in league with the catch-all left- and right-of-center parties, the Social Democrats and the Christian Democrats, while the populist Alternative for Germany party hovered below or above 10 percent.
By Edward Valachovic http://flickr.com/people/fauxaddress/ - cropped from File:Berlin Wall Potsdamer Platz November 1975 looking east.jpg, original at Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, $3