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Germany moves closer to getting 1st state governor from a party with communist roots

FILE - In this Sept. 14, 2014 file photo Bodo Ramelow, top candidate of German party 'Die Linke' (The Left) for the regional parliament elections in Thuringia, celebrates after the state parliament elections in Thuringia in Erfurt, central Germany. Germany’s president Joachim Gauck, a former East German pro-democracy activist, is voicing unease at the prospect of the nation’s first state governor from a party with communist roots. Ramelow looks likely to emerge as governor of eastern Thuringia state in a three-party coalition following an inconclusive September election. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer, file)

FILE - In this Sept. 14, 2014 file photo Bodo Ramelow, top candidate of German party 'Die Linke' (The Left) for the regional parliament elections in Thuringia, celebrates after the state parliament elections in Thuringia in Erfurt, central Germany. Germany’s president Joachim Gauck, a former East German pro-democracy activist, is voicing unease at the prospect of the nation’s first state governor from a party with communist roots. Ramelow looks likely to emerge as governor of eastern Thuringia state in a three-party coalition following an inconclusive September election. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer, file)  (The Associated Press)

Germany has moved closer to getting its first state governor from a party with communist roots as the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall's fall approaches.

Germany's main center-left party, the Social Democrats, said Tuesday a party ballot in eastern Thuringia state showed 70 percent favoring negotiations to join a regional government led by Left Party candidate Bodo Ramelow.

The Social Democrats finished third in an indecisive September election, but their decision will be crucial in the formation of a new state government.

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.

Thuringia's state legislature is expected to elect the governor in a few weeks.