Germany's Left party made a strong showing at the polls in national elections, set to emerge as third strongest party in the Bundestag. But it is unlikely to be more than an opposition party.
Early results following Sunday's national election in Germany showed a slight drop for the Left party, which won around 8.5 percent of the vote. Only a part of the vote has been counted so far.
In the last national election in 2009, the party polled 11.9 percent, now first results indicate that it has lost two percent. But with other smaller parties faring even worse it could overtake the Greens, and has already left the liberl Free Democrat FDP far behind.
The Left has been one of the more outspoken critics of the coalition of Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition government of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Free Democrats.
The Left party formed in 2007 from remnants of the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS), the successor to the socialist SED party that ruled former East Germany. A group of trade unionists and former Social Democrats (SPD) members in western Germany also make up part of the party's leadership.
Given their ties to the former east and bad blood among the former SPD members in the Left party, the Left is seen as a coalition partner of last resort - and only on the federal state level.
The most likely path to a governing coalition – as the final piece to a SPD-Green party coalition – had been flatly rejected by both the SPD and the Greens ahead of the polls.
The party's campaign was led by a team of eight of the Left's top politicians, including Gregor Gysi and Sahra Wagenknecht.
The Left campaigned on a strict pacifist platform, calling for Germany to leave NATO, it also favored a ban on weapons exports, a 30-hour working week, higher taxes on higher earners, and a minimum wage of 10 euros per hour – higher than proposed minimum wages from the other parties.
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