The Left Party and the 2021 Bundestag Election

Monday, April 19, 2021, 12:00 - 1:00 pm EDT // 18:00 - 19:00 CEST

Despite periodic predictions of its demise, the Left Party has become a stalwart player in Germany’s increasingly fragmented party system, especially in the eastern states. Currently, polling a little below its 2017 Bundestag election result of 9.2 percent, it is a near-certainty that it will once again be represented in the national parliament. Moreover, it is no longer outside of the realm of possibility that the Left will enter a federal coalition with the Greens and SPD. But challenges persist, including two new and relatively unknown leaders, low levels of support in many western states, and the general weakness of leftist parties across Europe. This webinar will look at the Left Party from both German and European perspectives as the September election approaches.

Gabriele Zimmer was born in the German Democratic Republic in 1955. In 1977 she graduated from the Karl-Marx-University Leipzig with a degree in Russian and French interpretation. From 1977 to 1989 she worked as a journalist and party functionary of the communist Socialist Unity Party (SED) for a company in the metal industry. In 1990 she co-founded the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) in the state of Thuringia, serving as chairwoman until 1998. From 2000 to 2003 she was the national chairwoman of PDS before it became the Left Party and from 2004 to 2019, she was a member of the European Parliament, including eight years as chairwoman of the left-wing group European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL).

Professor Jonathan Olsen is professor and chair of the department of history and political science at Texas Woman’s University. He has been both a Fulbright Scholar and a DAAD fellow and has written four books, the first of which in 1999 was on the topic of “Eco-Fascism.” Dr. Olsen has written widely on German political parties, especially on the radical right and the Linke.

Moderated by Barbara Donovan, Professor of Political Science, Wesleyan College

This webinar will convene via Zoom. Please contact Elizabeth Caruth at with any questions.

This webinar is supported by the AGI Harry & Helen Gray Culture and Politics Program and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany. It is presented in partnership with The Aston Centre for Europe, Aston University, Birmingham, UK; the International Association for the Study of German Politics; and the BMW Center for German and European Studies, Georgetown University.