Left co-boss Hennig-Wellsow: "Because we are closed"
Photo: Steffi Loos / Getty Images
In recent months, observers have been able to get the impression that for many on the left, the political opponent is not outside but inside their own party. Left-wing movement demands the expulsion of Sahra Wagenknecht, Oskar Lafontaine calls on the Saarlanders not to vote for his party, East Realos scoff at "politically correct gender language", which the party has now considered more important than the needs of the disadvantaged classes. The result: In the polls, the party has now slipped dangerously close to the five percent hurdle.
Accordingly, the left-wing leaders vowed unity on the first day of the online party congress.
"I can promise you one thing: we will not go down," said party leader Susanne Hennig-Wellsow, "because we stick together, because we are closed."
It doesn't help anyone if they argue.
Thuringia's popular head of government Bodo Ramelow warned the comrades: "It is up to us that we win the hearts of the people."
Top candidate and co-party leader Janine Wissler admitted in an interview with journalists that there was one or the other heated debate in the party.
But "we have so much more that unites us than what divides us," she said.
Co-top candidate Dietmar Bartsch called on the party to end the conflicts over Sahra Wagenknecht, for example: "We are coming up as the left - and together."
This particular dispute is about the fundamental orientation of the left.
In her book "The Self-Righteous", Wagenknecht accuses left parties of having lost sight of their own social issues and of alienating traditional voters with low incomes with gender, climate or organic food debates.
She speaks of the »lifestyle left«.
Unity in social policy
Wagenknecht himself did not speak up on the first day of the party congress, but was still present in the debate.
Michael Benecke from the state association of Saxony-Anhalt, where the left had lost a lot in the state elections, accused his party of chasing after "Green voters, yuppies and others" instead of concentrating on their core clientele, their wishes and concerns.
The “politically correct gender language”, which large sections of the population reject, is the ultimate for some leftists, he criticized.
Paul Gruber from the left youth association "solid" contradicted: The East would certainly not be helped by debates about gender, as initiated by Wagenknecht, or sham debates about alleged lifestyle leftists.
On the other hand, there is more agreement on the concrete ideas in social policy.
In her speech, co-boss Janine Wissler affirmed the left's plans for a "top-down redistribution" with higher taxes for the rich and companies.
In its election manifesto, the Left also calls for a minimum wage of 13 euros, a solidarity minimum pension of 1200 euros and a guaranteed minimum income of the same amount.
On Sunday, the program is to be decided by the delegates, then the two top candidates will also speak to the delegates.
fdi / AFP / dpa