Published 19th September, 2013
The Left or Die Linke was founded in 2007 as a merger of the East German post-communist Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) and the Electoral Alternative for Labour and Social Justice (WASG). Its history is a little more interesting than that in that the PSD was the successor party to the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) which was the governing party of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) from its formation in 1949 until 1989.
The party describes itself as Left-wing to Far-left and believes in Democratic socialism and Anti-capitalism.
As the PSD the party fought its first democratic elections in 1990 within the reunified Germany and won 17 of the 662 seats in the Bundestag. In 1994 that went up to 30 seats and in 1998 to 36 seats. By 2002 the party had a disastrous year and dropped back to two seats.
The party had always been stronger in the East German part of the reunified country but had little support in former West Germany. After the 2002 election the party started talks with the Electoral Alternative for Labour and Social Justice (WASG) and in 2005 the two parties agreed to stand on a unified ticket; they won 54 of the 614 seats in the Bundestag as a result.
In March 2007 the two parties finally joined forces into The Left and two years later in the 2009 federal election it won 76 of the 622 seats, its best showing so far.
The Left is a member of the Party of the European Left. In the European Parliament where the party holds 8 of the 99 national seats The Left is a member of the European United Left–Nordic Green Left group.