Katja Kipping and Bernd Riexinger step down from the top of the left.
At an online party conference, the baton will now be handed over to a new, all-female dual leadership.
On Friday and Saturday (February 26th and 27th) 600 delegates of the Die Linke party will meet for the online party conference.
A new chairman duo is to be elected.
The news ticker for the left party congress is constantly updated.
Berlin - After almost nine years at the head of the left, the outgoing chairmen, Katja Kipping and Bernd Riexinger, draw a positive balance of their work.
The left is an indispensable part of the political landscape, said Kipping to journalists in Berlin a few days before the change in leadership.
Riexinger spoke of a recognized party with which people discuss and which is no longer simply dismissed and insulted.
The duo has been leading the Left since June 2012 and actually wanted to quit last June, but the planned election party conference was postponed twice due to the corona virus.
This Friday and Saturday (February 26/27) around 600 delegates will meet for an online party congress - like the CDU in January - to elect a new top.
This is expected to be formed by the deputy party and Hessian parliamentary group leader Janine Wissler and the Thuringian state and parliamentary group leader Susanne Hennig-Wellsow.
There are no other promising candidates.
Party congress in Berlin: low left polls - red-red-green dream in danger?
You have given everything in the last nine years, said Kipping.
“The ground is prepared.
Now a new chapter can be opened. ”But the ground is rocky: The left is bobbing about seven to eight percent in the polls.
If the mood of the electorate does not change significantly by autumn, the dream of governing at the federal level by the side of the Greens and the SPD will probably remain.
Surveys do not see a majority for this at the moment.
The two co-bosses emphasized the positive in their balance sheet: The left has become more modern in recent years and is now also more broadly based on the program.
"We have not thrown our principles, such as criticism of capitalism or peace policy overboard, and yet we provide Prime Minister, have introduced the rent cap in Berlin and are in the government in Bremen in the first West German state," said Kipping.
Left party conference: Sahra Wagenknecht criticizes the party's orientation
But the era with her and Riexinger at the top was also marked by heated arguments about the direction of the party.
The ongoing dispute with ex-parliamentary group leader and party celebrity Sahra Wagenknecht, who campaigned for a more restrictive migration policy, left particularly deep wounds.
Wagenknecht, who is now a simple member of the Bundestag and is also a candidate for the next parliament, continues to persist.
She repeatedly criticizes the left's course for being too aloof.
The left is being elected less and less in prefabricated housing estates and more in expensive, trendy neighborhoods, she recently told
and called for the party to concentrate on representing the low-income, the lower middle, the working class.
"But that only works if we take the worldview of these people seriously, if we respect their values and desires instead of labeling them as retrograde."
Left party conference in Berlin: New party leaders should bring a breath of fresh air
The new party leaders should now bring in a breath of fresh air and unity.
But Wissler and Hennig-Wellsow also have different ideas, as became clear in interviews in advance: Hennig-Wellsow, who is involved in government with the Left in Thuringia, also wants to work towards government participation by the Left in the federal government and speaks of similarities with the Greens and SPD.
You stand for a "radical realpolitik".
Wissler, on the other hand, considers a government made up of the three parties to be rather unlikely and is tough on the issue of foreign deployments of the Bundeswehr - a possible sticking point in any coalition negotiations: "I see no possibility for compromises with Bundeswehr deployments, unlike other questions," said Wissler recently in the
"There is no such thing as a little war."
Video: upheaval on the left: Kipping and Riexinger step down
The left will not join a government that decides to deploy abroad.
Hennig-Wellsow, on the other hand, does not close this door completely and at least does not rule out peacekeeping missions under the umbrella of the United Nations.
Still-party leader Kipping sees no problem in this and refers to her collaboration with Riexinger.
Wherever you have different positions, you look for a common solution.
She is "totally confident".
After her time at the top of the party, Kipping wants to continue "to take action against Hartz IV and poverty" and sees herself as a "bridge builder for new left majorities" - exactly in what role, that is open.
Riexinger also wants to stay with the parliamentary group in the Bundestag.
(dpa / fmü)