Social security, well-paid work, strict climate protection and peace: the left is trying to regain its footing with clear priorities and to overcome internal disputes. The party and faction leaders from the federal and state governments agreed on a joint statement at a crisis meeting in Leipzig on Saturday, according to party circles. In doing so, they also distinguished themselves from the former parliamentary group leader Sahra Wagenknecht, who appears as a critic of the party leadership and has floated the idea of founding her own party.
The "Leipzig Declaration" refers to the crisis of the left, which failed at the five percent hurdle in the federal election and the last four state elections. In the Bundestag, it is only in parliamentary group strength because three candidates won direct mandates. The left is a "historic achievement," but it is in danger, the paper says. "Relevant groups in society no longer feel addressed by her."
The left offers a picture of disunity. "There is even speculation in public about the formation of an alternative party project," it says. "On the other hand, we are ready to fight for our common party, to defend and develop the historic project of a united, plural socialist party."
Wagenknecht is not present at the meeting
The federal chairmen Janine Wissler and Martin Schirdewan had invited all the important officials to the retreat in Leipzig, i.e. the party executive as well as the leaders of the parliamentary group as well as state associations and parliamentary groups. According to information from the party, 64 officials came. Wagenknecht was not there - she is a member of the Bundestag, but has no party office.
The 53-year-old is perhaps the best-known leftist, but she always takes different positions than the majority of the party - and thus also offends internally. She accused the federal government of "starting an economic war against Russia" and wants more oil and gas imports from Russia. The "Leipzig Declaration", on the other hand, calls for "promoting the energy transition" and billions for the expansion of renewable energies.
Commitment to the war party Ukraine
While Wagenknecht sees the United States and NATO as partly responsible for the Ukraine war, the party paper blames Russia and emphasizes: "We are committed to Ukraine's right to self-defense and call for the full restoration of Ukrainian sovereignty." Another dissent: Wagenknecht recently described the Greens as the most dangerous party in the Bundestag, while many leftists attribute this role to the AfD. The "Leipzig Declaration" now emphasizes a "clear edge against the right".
In addition, the paper reaffirms well-known demands, including redistribution from top to bottom, "strengthening the public" for basic needs such as housing or energy supply, more help for the poor and overcoming the debt brake. For an end to the Ukraine war, diplomatic initiatives are called for, including from China and India, "which can influence Russia to come to a ceasefire and peace negotiations".
For the upcoming elections, the party leaders are issuing the line to continue to participate in government in Berlin and Bremen and to become as strong as possible in Bavaria, Schleswig-Holstein and Hesse. "Our goal is therefore to strengthen the left in the coming elections," states the paper.