Gysi remained its leader, and soon became one of the most well-known faces within German politics.
By the end of February, the PDS had expelled most of the remaining prominent Communist-era leaders from its ranks - including Honecker and Krenz.
In 1998, the party reached its highest result to date, with 37 deputies elected on 5.1% of the national vote, thus qualifying for full parliamentary status in the Bundestag.
Gysi's resignation in 2000 after losing a policy debate with leftist factions brought conflict to the PDS.
The two major parties formed a grand coalition, led by the Alliance for Germany, built around the East German CDU, which meant the PDS was the main opposition party.
In the first all-German Bundestag elections in 1990, the PDS won 2.4% of the nationwide vote.
The party is the most left-wing party of the six represented in the Bundestag, and has been called far-left by news outlets such as the British newspaper The Guardian, The party participates in governments in the states of Brandenburg, as junior partner to the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD); Thuringia with the SPD and The Greens in a three-party coalition with The Left parliamentarian Bodo Ramelow serving as Minister-President; and Berlin with the SPD and Greens in a three-party coalition, led by Michael Müller of the SPD.