German lawmakers vote Left Party member to be vice president

German lawmakers on Friday elected a Left Party member to be parliamentary vice president, months after the party's chairman was resoundingly rejected in four rounds of voting. Petra Pau, a 42-year-old former teacher, was the party's second choice for the position after Lothar Bisky failed to win approval in November. Pau was elected with 385 of 614 votes in the lower house; 138 lawmakers voted against her, while 58 abstained.

Norbert Lammert, a member of the conservative Christian Democratic party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, was elected parliamentary president when the new legislative body convened after elections last year. Each party represented is entitled to supply at least one vice president, and Lammert's other five deputies were elected without problems, but lawmakers repeatedly rejected Bisky on grounds he was too high-ranking a political figure and because of questions about his past in communist East Germany.

The Left Party, an alliance of ex-communists and western left-wingers disgruntled by former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's reform efforts, won 8.7 percent of the Sept. 18 vote to take 54 seats in parliament, reports the AP.

N.U.