The Linkspartei (LP) is a political party in Dundorf. It was founded in 3248, at the height of the Dundorfian polarisation period. The party was specifically designed as a progressive and less authoritarian alternative to the older and more dogmatic socialist parties of Dundorf. The party also has a history of promoting secularism, humanism and freedom of speech, and it has a strong ecological faction.
The LP was founded by a group of leftist intellectuals led by the successful lawyer, Hermann Reisacher, who became the first official party leader. The founding members included the famous architect Albert Neusache, the outspoken polemicist Josef Friedrichsohn and Swanhilda Reisacher, who was an author of novels and happened to be Hermann Reisacher's sister. Before the party's foundation, its members were already politically active and offered an ever-growing critical sound to the established socialist bloc. In November 3247, Hermann Reisacher and Josef Friedrichsohn organized a three week conference to address the dogmatic statism of the leftist parties in the Bundestag of Dundorf, which was well-received by their peers in the intellectual community. This led them to believe they could turn their group into an official party and get into the Bundestag. The official foundation date of the Linkspartei is disputed, but the anniversary always falls on the first of February, since it is commonly said to have been in February of 3248.
The Great Three (3248-3260)Edit
Almost immediately, the party's founding members drew a lot of media attention due to Friedrichsohn's connections and Reisacher's charismatic appearances in several late-night talks shows. Hermann Reisacher turned out to be a phenomenal leader figure; being described as a jovial and quick-witted man, especially in comparison with the more stern and solemn Friedrichsohn. As the elections of 3251 came closer, it was clear that Hermann Reisacher would not only be the official party leader, as he had been since the foundation of the LP, but also the de facto party leader, even though his competitor, Josef Friedrichsohn, was elected as the Presidential candidate for the LP. Due to Reisacher's popularity, the party managed to win 101 (out of a total of 500) seats in the Bundestag during the general elections of 3251. However, the coincidental presidential elections were not won by the party.
After these elections, Hermann Reisacher officially gave up his position as party leader in order to become the leading minister of a cabinet composed of the Sozialistische Einheitspartei Dundorfs (SED), the Radikal Kaiserliche Partei (RKP) and the LP. Reisacher was sworn in as Bundeskanzler der Bundesrepublik Dundorf on October 1, 3252. Having lost the Presidential elections of 3251, a slightly pushed aside Josef Friedrichsohn became the minister of Finance in Reisacher's first cabinet. The daily political leadership of the LP was left to architect Albert Neusache, who became the party's first Fraktionsvorsitzender (fraction chairman) and who was also announced to be the presidential candidate for the following elections.
Although the LP did not fulfil many of its election promises during the first Reisacher government, the party's leaders became well-known public figures and were recognized as the 'great three' of progressive politics. Reisacher soon became an internationally celebrated politician and Friedrichsohn was seen as a fiscally conservative yet consequent minister of finance. Meanwhile, Albert Neusache gained a lot of support from the Dundorfian people; the Dundorfians saw him as an intelligent and independent party leader who wasn't afraid to be critical of his own party. In the 3253 elections, the LP lost some seats to other parties, but remained the third party of the country. However, since the LGB (libertarian green movement) was disbanned in 3254; there were early elections, which resulted in Albert Neusache suddenly being elected as Bundespräsident of the Bundesrepublik. After a short period of coalition negotiations, the present coalition was slightly altered to include the new Volkspartei (VP). Because the VP took over the ministertry of finance from the LP after the coalition had been formed, Josef Friedrichsohn had to leave the cabinet; he went on to succeed Albert Neusache as fraktionsvorsitzender and party leader. However, Hermann Reisacher remained in office as Bundeskanzler.The second Reisacher cabinet was more progressive than the first, and saw the enactment of the People's Act, which was first proposed as the Socialist Act by the SED, but was heavily altered to match the legislative demands of the LP and the VP. With this bill, the LP managed to decentralize the legislation regarding tv- and radio stations, which were from then on in the hands of independent corporations which received subsidy from the government; the bill also ensured the autonomy of local governments in matters regarding forestry agencies. However, this was not appreciated by the electorate; Albert Neusache was not re-elected as Bundespräsident, even though a third Reisacher cabinet was formed after the elections of 3257. This cabinet was almost the same cabinet as the preceding cabinet, only without the RKP; its ministries where divided among the other coalition parties. Soon after his defeat in the presidential elections, former President Albert Neusache announced his retirement from politics, but he remained an honorary party member of the LP and became an important advisor to future LP leaders. Most notably, Neusache acted as a mentor to Rudolf Schräder in the early 3260s. Josef Friedrichsohn and Hermann Reisacher remained to lead the LP, but faced great difficulties in trying to act as a counter-weight to the growing influence of the VP on the government's legislation on the one hand and the evermore vocal opposition of the Konservative Partei on the other. When the inexperienced and relatively unknown Rudolf Schräder was put forward as Presidential candidate for the LP after Josef Friedrichsohn had suddenly announced that he would retire as Fraktionsvorsitzender and that he wouldn't run for President again, a most fatal blow befell the party.
Schräder's leadership (3260-3271)Edit
During the elections of 3259, the party lost fourteen seats in the Bundestag, which resulted in a loss of the majority for the sitting cabinet. This prompted Reisacher to announce that he would retire from politics too, after a new cabinet had been formed. His sister, Swanhilda Reisacher, who was the party chair and interim political leader of the LP, had to persuade Rudolf Schräder to become the next party leader and Fraktionsvorsitzender. In spite of him losing the Presidential elections, Schräder was the last remaining person who had any credibility as a leader. The political vetrans, Albert Neusache and Swanhilda Reisacher, succeeded in persuading Schräder to stay on as party leader; he was officialy named fraktionsvorsitzender on April 25, 3260. However, the internal crisis wasn't solved, since great tensions arose during the coalition negotiations with the VP and the KP. The VP had used the chaos within the Linkspartei to dictate these negotiations and had actively sought to form a coalition with the conservatives.
Eventually, the LP's disoriented leaders were seduced into forming a government with the conservatives and the Volkspartei by the VP's promises of working together to achieve more decentralization with regard to ecological legislation. The KP also promised to support a more progressive income tax legislation, which had already been worked on by the Reisacher administration, but was eventually marginalized by Reisacher himself who labbeled it as 'unimportant'. The coalition fulfilled all of these promises in a short-sitting cabinet that was installed in 3261 and fell apart in 3263 after the LP ministers resigned due to disagreements with their KP colleagues. This was mostly due to the lack of direction that stemmed from the very poorly defined and specific goals of the coaltion agreements, which had all already been reached by December 3262. This caused the ideological differences to act up again, after which Schräder asked his ministers to leave the cabinet.
The VP and the KP then moved on to form an unproductive minority cabinet without the LP ministers. Rudolf Schräder tried to cut this government's time short by calling for early elections in 3263, but this wasn't supported by any other party. This effectively meant that the minority cabinet would remain in power until after the elections of 3264. In these elections, the Linkspartei gained seats for the first time in five years, which was an indication for Schräder that his fall out with the conservatives had been for the better. He returned to the negotiation table with fellow socialists from the SED and the RKP; mirroring the first Reisacher cabinet. However, this time it was the RKP that was the second party of the coalition, which resulted in the appointment of a RKP Bundeskanzler. Schräder himself gave up his official party leadership to become minister of Foreign Affairs in this cabinet. The socialist cabinet was installed in 3265 and immediately began to reform the economy, proposing and passing new legislative bills at a fast rate.
This alarmed the conservatives, who responded by accusing the cabinet of being dangerously authoritorian and closed-minded. The KP eventually decided to try and force the coalition to revoke the economic reforms by having all their ambassadors to other countries resign and blocking any ambassadorial appointments to replace their resignated ambassadors. However, the coalition did not give in to the applied leverage and minister Schräder decided, together with Bundespräsident Rudolph Bracher of the SED, not to try to replace the ambassadors. The LP's new fraktionsvorsitzender, former minister Gerhard Quintens, also responded negatively by stating that the party would vote against all KP initiatives and would not participate in, or support, a conservative coalition until the KP had stopped blocking ambassadorial appointments. With the general elections of 3267, the Linkspartei gained 21 seats in the Bundestag, which contributed to the KP losing its 1/3 plurality necessary to block new ambassadrial appointments. However, since another Bundespräsidentin was elected (Katharina Sommer of the KP), who announced that she would not appoint any new ambassadors, the ambassadorial posts remained a matter of dispute in the Bundestag.
Since there were no cabinet negotiations after the aforementioned general elections of 3267, the sitting socialist cabinet, headed by RKP-Bundeskanzler Uwe Osterstein, remained in power. Shortly after these elections, the cabinet's minister of Education and Culture, Angela Bohrmann of the LP, proposed the Anti-Indoctrination Act, which abolished religious schools and forbade schools to make their students sing the national anthem. This has been somewhat of a deviation from previous legislative proposals of the LP, since the party had merely advocated the regulation of religious schools prior to this proposal. This radicalised policymaking did not receive an altogether warm welcome: the conservatives criticized the LP party members for being 'the lackeys of the SED and the RKP' and the LP only managed to win 65 seats in the general elections of 3269. This caused Rudolf Schräder to lose his position of unofficial party leader, since he was criticized for not being a strong enough leader during his last term in office as leading minister of the LP. In May 3271, Schräder officially confirmed that he would not remain as a minister or MP after the ongoing cabinet negotiations.
Recent developments (3271-present)Edit
It is believed that the new Fraktionsvorsitzender of the LP, Sebastian Schiller, who was the presidential candidate for the party in 3267 and 3269, is currently the most influential politician within the party. He has announced that he wants to reopen the discussion regarding the ambassadorial posts and he is openly involved with the cabinet negotiations with the SED, the RKP and the VP.
To ensure a solid devision between party politics and national politics, Albert Neusache and Josef Friedrichsohn wrote several party guidelines in the months following the foundation of the LP. The most important issue these guidelines addressed was the party's leadership. It was decided that a member of the Linkspartei who served as an official in the Bundeskabinett (cabinet) or as Bundespräsident (federal president) could not be the official political leader of the Linkspartei. Even though a member of the Bundeskabinett or a Bundespräsident may be unofficially recognized as the party's leader and may play a prominent role in deciding the party's course, he/she may never actually change party regulations or speak as representative of the party in the Bundestag. However, he/she may present himself/herself as a spokesperson for the party outside of the official dicourse in the Bundestag. Usually, the factual daily leadership of the party befalls the Fraktionsvorsitzender, who also chairs the official faction gatherings of the party's members in the Bundestag.
Besides the Fraktionsvorsitzender, who acts as the leader of the party in the Bundestag, the LP also has one or several party chairmen. A party chairman is responsible for observing the implementation of party guidelines, organizing party congresses, notifying members of important events and leading the party during a leadership crisis. A leadership crisis occurs when the Fraktionsvorsitzender is not able to adequately fulfil his/her tasks as party leader of when the title of Fraktionsvorsitzender is disputed. Sometimes, a Fraktionsvorsitzender chooses to share his leadership responsibilities with a party chairman; this often happens when there is a strong unofficial leader who acts as minister or president. Such an unofficial leader may demand a shared leadership between the Fraktionsvorsitzender and a party chairman in order to assert more control over the party's course.
The official political leader of the Linkspartei is not elected by the party members of the LP. Usually, the MPs of the Linkspartei choose a Fraktionsvorsitzender from their midst who automatically receives the title of party leader. At other times, the title is deliberately given to a presidential candidate in order to boost his/her appeal. However, it is technically the party chairman's responsibility to choose a leader, even though party chairmen usually choose the MPs' sugggested candidates. The party members may revoke the party chairman's decision if a 2/3 majority of the party members is against the appointment of a certain political leader on personal or political grounds.
Factions within the partyEdit
The Linkspartei has always been a party of freethinkers and intellectuals and, because of this, the party does not have any well-defined permanent factions. However, party members often form temporary interest groups that focus on one issue only. These interest groups usually also include members that serve or have served as MPs, cabinet ministers, Heads of Government or Heads of State, and interest groups often compete to get as many powerful members on board; especially when the competing groups have different ideas about the same issue.
Even though these interest groups usually do not exist for a prolonged period of time and have an informal character, some interest groups have gotten fairly powerful as they remained to work together for long periods of time. Two powerful and widely recognized groups are the Ecological Lounge and the Society of Freethinkers; the former advocates ecological consciousness and a prime ecological responsibility for local governments, rather than federal governments, while the latter advocates fundamentalist secularism. The Society of Freethinkers has been criticized publicly by the Moderate Secular Society, which advocates moderate and non-repressive secularism.
Aspiring or incumbent party leaders are often asked to which, if any, interest groups they belong, since this is generally perceived as a good indicator for the party's future politics. For example, the members of the Society of Freethinkers have a history of being less open to concessions during cabinet negotiations and are known to be particularly hostile to conservative and nationalist parties, whereas the members of the Ecological Lounge are usually open-minded during cabinet negotiations and likely to avoid cooperation with unitarist parties.
The Linkspartei is currently considerd to be under heavy influence of the Society of Freethinkers, and several powerful and well-known party members have openly stated to be a member of this interest group, including Education and Culture minister Angela Bohrmann, party leader Gerhard Quintens and presidential candidate Sebastian Schiller. Some people have speculated that this indicates a radicalization of the party, and the Bundesrepublik Dundorf Daily has recently publized a series of articles that predict that the party will go through a rapid trasformation if Rudolf Schräder is to resign from office after the upcoming elections.