We’re the real winners in the elections because we got 4% more than last time. The FDP is stronger not only because the CDU missed votes but because the Federal Republic has changed. For the first time since the beginning of the 50s, the old states feel the need for a force to the left of social democracy. A year ago, I still believed this was impossible. For a long time we were between 4 and 5.1% and we have just gotten 8.7% due to the alliance with the western force, thanks to Oskar Lafontaine (ex president of the SPD). This is a wonderful result.
Many newspapers declared themselves, in political and personal tems, against Lafontaine and many people, especially from the East, have said: enough!.
Neo-liberalism has established itself in the great parties; even in the Greens. But it’s also dominant on television and other media. However, opposition is emerging, as can be seen in the Tageszeitung and the Die Zeit. An opposing force to this mentality is along with us in the Bundestag.
We’re dealing with a unique situation: the government of the Greens and the SPD was rejected, and another one between the Union and the FDP has not been approved yet. This is not a sign of instability. It’s a sign of the European normality.
Nowadays, we have a majority to the left with the Union and the FDP. I don’t know if this is a left-wing majority or, as Oskar Lafontaine says, a majority to the left of the centre. If the SPD participates, the social regression won’t be that dramatic as when the CDU and the FDP governed alone.
The WASG (Wahlalternative Arbeit und soziale Gerechtigkeit, electoral choice for the social and professional equality) won along with us and we must merge as soon as possible. Now the SPD has more members but the WASG is going to be predominant over a dozen regions and we’ll be only in six. Maybe we’ll be united for the spring elections in Berlin.

Die Tageszeitung (Germany)

Das Land verändert sich”, by Gregor Gysi, Die Tageszeitung, September 20, 2005. Text adapted from an interview.