For a long time there were no figures that could give hope to the left. In a poll, 18 percent of respondents said they could imagine voting for the Left Party. “The left remains a party with a future,” said federal manager Jörg Schindler, who presented the figures on Monday. For the study commissioned by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, the opinion research institute Kantar interviewed 2,300 people in April.
But when it’s not about the potential voters, but the actual voting decision, the numbers look very different. In the nationwide polls of the past few months, the party did not even get five percent.
From Schindler’s point of view, the result of the new survey on his party’s potential is therefore “not only good news, but also bad news”. Because this shows that the left has to improve considerably in order to really exploit its potential. “We have to step in now and convince the people who can imagine voting for the left, so that they do it in the end,” said Schindler. The federal manager speaks of “renewal” of his party.
This renewal is to be launched at the federal party conference in Erfurt at the end of June. On the one hand, the party wants to agree on its content and, if possible, settle the paralyzing dispute, especially in foreign policy. At the same time, the party executive is to be re-elected in Erfurt.
The chairwoman Susanne Hennig-Wellsow had already thrown down in April in annoyance. Her previous co-boss Janine Wissler continued on her own – and now announced at the weekend that she would again run for the top office at the party conference.
The 41-year-old, who made a name for herself as a faction leader in Hesse, is not only rhetorically talented within her party. However, she had to make up for the sluggish enlightenment of
Saxon MP Sören Pellmann and MEP Martin Schirdewan have also announced their candidacies for the party leadership of the left. Pellmann said in Berlin on Tuesday that he wanted “to take on concrete responsibility for my party in a difficult situation”.
Pellmann said at a press conference in Berlin that in future the left would be about “talking more to each other than about each other”. The member of the Bundestag emphasized on the orientation of the content: “The Left stands for the social question like no other party”. As a further focus, he mentioned showing “a clear edge against right-wing extremists”.
Schirdewan told the ARD capital studio on Tuesday that it would be “a great honor if the party congress elected me party chairman”. The Left Party is going through a difficult phase Leading the party out of this crisis.” It’s about strengthening the profile “again as a modern socialist justice party”.
Referring to the series of electoral defeats, Schirdewan said: “We obviously have a lot of homework to do, that’s what the voters told us.” What is needed is a “programmatic renewal” of the left. “For me, this primarily affects social reconciliation and ecological issue.”
As a further focus, Schirdewan named the digital change from the perspective of dependent employees and those who cannot afford to participate in technological progress.
Questions of foreign and security policy would also have to be redefined by the party. “And we need a structural renewal that, among other things, also addresses the accusations of sexism that have arisen among us and makes us really recognizable as a feminist party,” he added.
Schirdewan is co-chairman of the Left Party in the European Parliament. The 46-year-old was born in East Berlin, worked as a political scientist and moved into the EU Parliament for the first time in 2017 as a successor.
The 45-year-old Pellmann won the direct mandate in the Leipzig II constituency in the federal elections last September. He has been a member of the Bundestag since 2017. The elementary school teacher is the Eastern Commissioner for the left-wing parliamentary group and spokesman for inclusion and participation.
In April, Wissler’s co-leader Susanne Hennig-Wellsow resigned after only 14 months. In addition to private motives, she cited the failed renewal of the party and the reports of sexual assaults on the Hessian left as reasons.
Party leader Wissler has repeatedly emphasized in recent weeks how important a good team at the top is. But now Wissler is the first to come out of cover and announce her candidacy. Although at the end of the elections in Erfurt there should again be a dual leadership, Wissler threw her hat in the ring alone.
As a woman from the west and from one of the few state organizations in the old federal states where the left is represented in parliament at all, she hardly has to fear competition. Former party leader Bernd Riexinger has already spoken out in favor of Wissler – which is not surprising. After all, he and the then co-boss Katja Kipping had brought up the Wissler/Hennig-Wellsow duo before the party conference last year.