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Bodo Ramelow, Germany’s first state governor from ex-communist party, assumes office

Ramelow's party is descended partly from East Germany's communist rulers.

By: Associated Press | Berlin | December 5, 2014 4:30:32 pm
A man holds a poster which shows Bodo Ramelow during a demonstration against the election of first state governor from the party 'Die Linke' (The Left), Bodo Ramelow, in Thuringia in front of the parliament building in Erfurt, central Germany, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014. (Source:AP) A man holds a poster which shows Bodo Ramelow during a demonstration against the election of first state governor from the party ‘Die Linke’ (The Left), Bodo Ramelow, in Thuringia in front of the parliament building in Erfurt, central Germany, Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014. (Source:AP)

Germany’s first state governor from a party with communist roots has taken office, following lengthy coalition negotiations tinged by concerns over his party’s past.

The eastern state of Thuringia’s regional legislature elected the Left Party’s Bodo Ramelow as governor Friday at the head of a three-party coalition with a single-seat majority. Ramelow’s ascent follows an indecisive state election in September and ends a 24-year reign over the state by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative party.

Ramelow himself wasn’t a communist but his party is descended partly from East Germany’s communist rulers. President Joachim Gauck, a former East German pro-democracy activist, has signaled unease about it leading a state government.

A coalition agreement with two center-left parties sought to address those concerns by stating that East Germany was a country of “injustice.”

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