'Red' Oskar Lafontaine seeks comeback in state elections
Saturday 29 August 2009
He may have been dubbed "the most dangerous man in Europe" by The Sun, but Germany's veteran leftwing firebrand "Red" Oskar Lafontaine has cast himself in the role of everyone's favourite uncle in the run-up to this Sunday's crucial poll in Saarland, the country's westernmost state.
The best-known politician in Germany's reformed-Communist Left Party is fond of using his pocket Polaroid when chatting to voters on the streets of the state capital Saarbrücken. He gets one of them to snap a souvenir group photo of "Oskar and friends" and then hands the print to them. "It gives people something to remember me by," Lafontaine says.
It's a trick the 65-year-old former candidate for Chancellor used to win votes when he became Germany's youngest state prime minister back in 1985. On Sunday, in one of three key elections – Thuringia and Saxony are also voting – ahead of Germany's general election on September 27, "Red" Oskar hopes to get his old job back. However this time he wants to become Saarland's first Left Party governor.
Lafontaine quit the Social Democrats five years ago, after a furious row with Gerhard Schröder, the then-Chancellor. In the interim, Lafontaine has reinvented himself as one of the Left Party's leading figures. To chants of "Oskar ! Oskar !" he has been regaling supporters with the cry "I want to be prime minister."
His chances are not great, but Lafontaine could become one of the leading politicians in a coalition government that would send shock waves through the political establishment. According to opinion polls, Lafontaine's Left Party and the Social Democrats are on course to win a combined vote of some 42 per cent and could form the first so-called red-red coalition in a west German state – an option which could be a blueprint for the combined left at national level in years to come.
- 1 Strictly Come Dancing 2014: Gregg Wallace joins line-up as final celebrities revealed
- 2 Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
- 3 Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
- 4 Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
- 5 George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
YouTube video posted by Isis militants shows 'execution of 250 Syrian soldiers'
Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
Brother and sister, Christopher Buckner and Timothy Savoy, arrested for 'committing incest after watching 'The Notebook''
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
- < Previous
- Next >
Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...
£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...
Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: A VERY HIGH QUALITY FIRM A high qual...
£50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, L...