German Social Union (East Germany)
|Founded||20 January 1990|
|Colours||Blue and green|
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The German Social Union (German: Deutsche Soziale Union, DSU) is a small conservative political party mainly active in the new states of Germany. It was founded in 1990 as a right-wing opposition group during the Wende transition to democracy in East Germany, when it was part of the Alliance for Germany electoral coalition. In 2015 it has about 100 members.
According to its 2006 basic programme, the DSU refers to itself as a conservative, democratic and social party. Ideologically, the party's goals are to preserve and uphold Western-Christian civilization, and to dismantle the welfare state.
The party can thus be seen as right-wing (anti-socialistic) national-conservative. It strongly differentiates itself from the National Democratic Party (NPD) and German People's Union (DVU), who tend more towards national-socialism. Its closest ideological ally among the right-wing parties is The Republicans. Historically, and as its name implies, it is modelled after the CSU in Bavaria, the more rightist of the two Union "sister parties", yet it was not possible for it to join them, as CDU and CSU nowhere compete and did not change that policy.
In the chaotic world of 1989–1990 East German politics, several long-suppressed cultural and political movements (re)emerged, and numerous small parties sprang up. The German Social Union was one of these, then several comprising conservative, Christian-democratic and liberal opposition groups.
The party was founded in Leipzig on 20 January 1990 by the St. Thomas Church pastor Hans-Wilhelm Ebeling, modeled loosely on the Christian Social Union of Bavaria (Christlich-Soziale Union, CSU). On 5 February 1990, it joined the Alliance for Germany together with the centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the now-defunct Democratic Departure (Demokratischer Aufbruch, DA), which ran in the East German general election of 18 March. The DSU polled a strong 6.3% of the votes cast and 25 seats in the People's Chamber parliament. It achieved its strongest results in the southern East German (Saxon) districts of Karl-Marx-Stadt, Dresden and Leipzig.
Its most prominent politician was Peter-Michael Diestel, who joined the last East German cabinet (Council of Ministers) under Lothar de Maizière as Minister of the Interior and deputy of the Prime Minister. Nevertheless, in June 1990 he left the party to join the CDU. After German reunification was accomplished on 3 October 1990, eight DSU People's Chamber deputies entered into the Bundestag, where they joined the CDU/CSU parliamentary group.
After reunification, the Alliance for Germany coalition dissolved. The DSU failed to enter into any Landtag legislature in the new states and achieved disappointing 0.2% (new states: 1.0%) of the votes in the German federal election of 2 December 1990. Its ideology has drifted in a more nationalistic direction than the centre-right CSU since that time. In subsequent elections its vote-share has remained under 1% of the vote in all Landtag elections held in the new states. Electoral coalitions with right-wing parties like the German Party, the Party for a Rule of Law Offensive or the Statt Party led to no avail. Nevertheless, the DSU has a loyal following of voters, especially in Saxony. Its activities in the western states are limited.