Bundestag election: barely there left

The Left is breaking the five percent barrier, but it may still go to the next Bundestag as it has won three direct mandates. Now the party wants to change itself.

The night was long and the morning started accordingly early. With a political hangover. Left co-chair Susan Hennig-Welso, along with the top pair of this federal election, Dietmar Barts and Janine Wiesler, came to Berlin to announce a result that left all three somewhat stunned, or at least disappointed. 4.9 percent in the Bund means leaving the Bundestag. Actually. But leftists can thank Giesin Lotz (Lichtenberg), former frontman Gregor Gissi (Trepto-Köpenick) and Sren Pellmann (Leipzig), all three of whom won direct mandates in their constituencies. Bartsch calls the three direct mandates as his party’s “assurance” that he will be represented again in the next Bundestag – with all the rights and benefits of a parliamentary group with the strength of a parliamentary group. And not as a group with less rights. Bartsch, the leader of the previous parliamentary group, quoted from the Bundestag’s rules of procedure: “At least five percent of the members make up the parliamentary group.” .9 percent – more than five percent of the members of the new Bundestag. Bartsch himself missed a direct mandate in his Rostock/Rostock II constituency.

Hello, wake up! Or also: now what? In any case, Hennig-Welso promises a learning process on the first day after this federal election. “This is the last black eye we picked up,” says the leftist co-president. Even more: “This is our last chance to take our party forward.” The Left must learn a lesson from this “heavy blow”. The next four years will have to be used “for the reorganization of the party”. Later this week, the party leadership will go to a retreat on Saturday and Sunday to discuss the results. Someone from Karl-Liebnecht-Haus said: “We turned away with two deep blue eyes.” Hennig-Welso and Wiesler left it open whether the Left would invite its representatives to a special party convention to discuss a change in course. Bartsch, Hennig-Welso and Wiesler agree that the final few weeks of the election campaign were not the real problem. It is a “whole puzzle” of the reasons that led to the decline – including years of disagreement. They are in contact with former Bundestag parliamentary group leader Sahra Wagennecht, who accused the party of acting too much as a “lifestyle left”. Hennig-Welso recently brought Wagenknecht and her husband, Oskar Lafontaine, to her constituency in Weimar as a joint campaign. Hennig-Welso and Wiesler, who have been at the helm of the party since February, still want to “lead the left through this process”. “The worst thing we can (will) do now is run off the field in this situation and say, let’s do it now,” Hennig-Welso insisted.

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In addition to the all-red socks, Bartsch is also aware of other reservations that political competition against his party has brought into practice, for example in Thuringia, where Bodo is the only prime minister of the left in Ramelo. It was said that Thuringia would soon have “neither bananas nor sausages”. Ramello himself encouraged his party on this Monday of the Election Review, with a sentence of choice by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, a famous Thuringian: “You can make beautiful things even with the stones you put in your path.”

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About the Author: Forrest Morton

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