Sahra Wagenknecht no longer wants to run for the left – politics
Now Sahra Wagenknecht has openly stated what was already clear for a long time: the time together between the left and its best-known politician is coming to an end. At the very latest in the next federal elections in autumn 2025. “A renewed candidacy for the left I rule it out,” said Wagenknecht Rhine Palatinate. Anything else would have been tantamount to a sensation after the alienation process, which has been escalating more and more recently. Wagenknecht’s announced withdrawal from the parliamentary group gives reason to expect that sooner or later she will also withdraw from the party.
For at least a year, Wagenknecht has been thinking about leaving the left and founding her own political movement, sometimes more, sometimes less loudly. At least since her husband Oskar Lafontaine left the party in March 2022, this question has been raised. Wagenknecht had recently given the standard answer that she was “at the moment” a member of the left. So it could change at any moment.
In an intimate circle, Wagenknecht left no doubt last summer that this is definitely her last electoral term as a member of the left-wing faction. With a view to the year 2025, she sees two options: either she will withdraw from professional politics and do what she loves to do: ride a bike, read, write books, attend talk shows – or it will happen until then something new.
“We’re starting to organize now”
At the controversial peace demonstration last Saturday in Berlin with 13,000 participants, the passage in her speech in which she proclaimed “a new peace movement in Germany” made people sit up and take notice. “We’re starting to organize ourselves now,” announced Wagenknecht in front of the Brandenburg Gate. This was also interpreted in party circles as a test run for the preparation of their own political project.
How far these preparations have progressed is the subject of wild speculation. In the parliamentary group, after the past federal election shrunk to 39 members, about seven to eight MPs are counted among Wagenknecht’s circle of supporters. If they split off together, the status of the Left Party in the Bundestag would be gone. It’s no secret that some in the party and parliamentary group now see this as the lesser evil than two and a half more years with Wagenknecht.
So far hesitating Sarah Wagenknecht but, and there are a number of reasons for this. For one thing, despite all the differences, she obviously doesn’t want to go down in history as the Left Party’s gravedigger. Second, the question arises as to whether her omnipresence in the media has nothing to do with her undisputed charisma or also with her role as leader of the opposition within the party. In any case, it is doubtful whether the private publicist Wagenknecht would still be with Lanz and Klamroth as often as the party line deviator Wagenknecht. And third, she’s had bad experiences before trying to start her own thing. The “Get Up” collection movement initiated in 2018 ended in disaster and not least with Wagenknecht’s burnout and her withdrawal from the parliamentary group chairmanship.
Wagenknecht and the left live in an eternal relationship crisis. The relationship has been irretrievably shattered not only since the Ukraine war, the escalation of which she again blamed primarily on the West, NATO and the federal government last Saturday in Berlin – and at best between the lines on the aggressor Vladimir Putin. Even before that, she was at odds with the party line on almost all key issues: migration, climate policy, corona measures.
However, her announcement on Friday is not a surprise simply because she would probably not have been nominated by the left for the 2025 federal election anyway. Wagenknecht, 53, was born in Jena, grew up in Berlin and has lived in Saarland for many years. She has always stood as a candidate for the Bundestag in North Rhine-Westphalia, of which she has been a member since 2009. In 2021 she was elected again as the top candidate. But even then there was massive resistance to this personality, both in the state association and in the national executive committee of the party. In some of the largest cities in North Rhine-Westphalia, their own people then refused to put up Wagenknecht posters. She was also not allowed to speak in Cologne, Düsseldorf, Dortmund, Essen or Duisburg during the election campaign. The fact that the NRW left would have put up another top candidate that they themselves do not want is ruled out.
The reactions from the left management team to Wagenknecht’s announcement were correspondingly cool on Friday evening. Group leader Dietmar Bartsch, who led the left in the Bundestag from 2015 to 2019 together with her, said the dpa, the step had been known to him for a long time and should be respected. The party chairmen Janine Wissler and Martin Schirdewan initially did not want to comment on the SZ request.