Typically, there is only a media outcry at federal press conferences when Chancellor Olaf Scholz speaks at the annual summer hearing. Or when he does Sahra Wagenknecht. The deputy of the German Left (Die Linke) is a media professional. Rare is the week in which she does not participate in a television program or give an interview. On Monday morning he announced in Berlin, at a packed press conference, his departure from Die Linke and presented a formation called BSW for “Bündnis Sahra Wagenknecht” (Sahra Wagenknecht Alliance) that would lead to the creation of a political movement, which would revolve entirely around her, a controversial and renowned personality in Germany. An announcement that could be the death knell for an already suffering left, especially because nine other deputies want to follow Wagenknecht, which would lead the party to lose its status as a parliamentary group in the Bundestag.
The step taken by Wagenknecht has not surprised anyone. Despite being the most famous face of his party, there has been very loud and constant criticism with some sectors of the party with whom he not only disagreed but, as he did in his book “The Self-Justeous”, who accused of “lifestyle leftists”. In Germany, people have been “governing beyond the wishes of the majority” for years; he has said on some occasion, while at the same time he never tires of repeating that many citizens have lost confidence in the State or that they no longer feel represented by none of the existing parties. Now, he wants to establish the foundations of a new one with which to fill a political vacuum in Germany and, openly, he has pointed out those who vote for the populist party Alternative for Germany (Afd) only out of anger, not because they are right-wing. “Now they will have a respectable address,” she said.
In what is already understood as his line to follow, Wagenknecht once again harshly criticized the coalition of Chancellor Olaf Scholz and, in economic policy, denounced the sanctions against Russia that have caused the rise in energy prices and warned of a exodus of important industries. We also have to move away from “blind and unplanned eco-activism”. Regarding migration, he criticized that Unregulated immigration exacerbates problems in schools, especially in poorer residential areas. Unlike The Left, he is in favor of a limit on the admission of refugees.
He presented the four central themes of the new alliance. The first objective is a new economic policy. Furthermore, the party should campaign for a “new social justice.” Wagenknecht addressed, among other things, minimum wage and pension levels. Thirdly, there should be a new peace policy with less military intervention. The fourth objective is to “expand the opinion corridor in our country again,” he added. While The Left wants to accelerate the fight against climate change, Wagenknecht criticizes that heat pumps or electric cars are only for those with higher incomes. The leftist politician Gregor Gysi describes his positions in the following way: “He wants to mix: social politics like the left, economic politics like Ludwig Erhard and refugee policy like the AfD”.
The conference at which this association was presented was also attended by several of his party colleagues who will continue to be part of the left faction until the party is founded in January. However, in the background it cannot be ignored that if training is reduced to less than 37 deputies, it would lose its status as a parliamentary group and, therefore, their rights or public funding to, for example, organize events and, above all, to hire employees. Many are now in danger of losing their jobs. Die Linke’s leadership has asked Wagenknecht and his supporters to resign so that deputies can be promoted and maintain group status, but Wagenknecht refuses to resign from his mandate.
The leader of the parliamentary group of The Left, Dietmar Bartsch, described the measure as “irresponsible and unacceptable.” The presentation of the “Sahra Wagenknecht Alliance” is a provocation for the leaders of the left-wing parties. The new party is scheduled to run in the European elections in June 2024 and according to Wagenknecht they aspire to run in the regional elections of Saxony, Thuringia and Brandenburg, although that will depend on how the regional associations have been created by then and which candidates have at the local level. Although the AfD is ahead in the polls in those three states, a YouGov poll in September showed that almost one in three people in eastern Germany could, at least theoretically, imagine themselves voting for a Wagenknecht party. The competition with the AfD, which Wagenknecht also formulated, is clear especially on issues of migration or when sanctions against Russia are criticized. The objectives differ in social, fiscal and European policy.