Can a New Leftist Party Deliver a Healthy Shock to Germany?

Left-wing politician Sahra Wagenknecht finally announced Oct. 23 the founding of a new association (the “Alliance Sahra Wagenknecht” or BSW) as a prelude to setting up a new party with a different name early next year. Nine other members of the federal parliament belonging to the Left Party have already joined her. All ten, however, will remain in the parliamentary group until the new party is set up. Once those ten have left, the Left party will be reduced to 28 members and lose official group status in the Bundestag, which implies a number of restrictions including financial ones — which will severely reduce the group’s possibilities for political initiatives.

In making the announcement, Wagenknecht reiterated her criticism of the Scholz government, calling it “probably the worst government” in the history of the Federal Republic, and that, “at a time of crisis and war”. “We need a return of reason to politics,” she said.

Elaborating, but without much detail, on the plans to found a party, Wagenknecht said, “Things must not continue as they are at present. Otherwise, we probably won’t recognize our country in ten years.” She mentioned the collapsing economy, the dilapidated railway system and low retirement pensions, among other problems. Charging “unregulated immigration” with exacerbating “the problems at schools, especially in poorer residential areas,” she also denounced “blind, haphazard eco-activism that makes people’s lives even more expensive, but actually doesn’t help the climate at all”.

Although Wagenknecht has attacked the Green Party policy repeatedly, her defense of “climate change” as well her opposition to nuclear power and her indifference to pioneer technologies are weak points of her party project. On the other hand, the population can rally to her opposition to weapons deliveries to Ukraine and her support for the Chinese and Brazilian peace proposals. Germany’s leading mass-tabloid Bild published an INSA opinion poll showing that up to 27% of voters were in favor of the Wagenknecht project. A new party would likely gather support from anti-war factions in the SPD layers and the Green Party, but also from many who now turn to the Alternative for Germany (AfD) out of disgust with the mainstream parties.

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