Left parliamentary group chairmanship: Everything as it was

To analyse

Status: 25.10.2021 7:55 p.m.

After the poor result in the federal election, many leftists wanted a new start in terms of personnel. But the old parliamentary group was elected – apparently due to a lack of alternatives and internal quarrels.

An analysis by Kerstin Palzer, ARD capital studio

It was an exciting weekend for the left. The party executive committee and the party executive committee met. But even more important were the many phone calls that had been made for weeks with the aim of installing a new parliamentary group leadership.

Kerstin Palzer
ARD capital studio

A new beginning was planned

The performance in the federal election, which was also described as disastrous and devastating within the party, should be the reason for a new start in terms of personnel. After all, the Left only managed to move into the Bundestag with parliamentary groups through three direct mandates. With such a clear slap in the face by the voters, the will of some in the party was clear: We need a fresh start.

Critics like the Saxon left-wing politician Sabine Zimmermann find that the party has criminally neglected its original competence, for example as the East German caretaker party. They tried to be greener than the greens. But that didn’t work out. Zimmermann says: “If in doubt, you should choose the original.”

However, the point of contention in the past few weeks has been who has to draw the personnel consequences for the election disaster. The election campaign leader and federal manager Jörg Schindler was up for debate, the relatively new party chairmen Susanne Hennig-Wellsow and Janine Wissler and the parliamentary group leaders Amira Mohamed Ali and Dietmar Bartsch.

To make matters worse, Bartsch and Wissler appeared as top candidates in the election campaign and were obviously unable to retain new voters or even retain the old electorate.

Dispute between the party executive and the top of the faction

Then began what the left – at least externally – believed to have been overcome: a dispute broke out between the party executive and the faction leaders. The search for the buck: who bears responsibility for the miserable election result?

It is customary for the party leaders to propose who the new group leaders should be. It seemed that Hennig-Wellsow and Wissler had a problem with proposing the existing parliamentary group leaders as new chairmen. At the same time, however, there was a lack of personnel alternatives.

Wissler, who has only been the party leader since February, was not impressed by the idea of ​​taking over the traditionally difficult faction in the future. Jan Korte, the parliamentary manager of the left-wing faction, apparently did not want to run against Bartsch.

In addition, a possible duo at the top of the parliamentary group, which would also have consisted of Wissler and Korte, would have the disadvantage that both – at least by birth – come from West Germany. The common quota on the left that there are double leaders from West and East Germany would have been thrown overboard.

Out of conviction for Bartsch and Mohamed Ali?

In the end, and after a lot of arguments behind the scenes, the party leaders suggested Mohamed Ali and Bartsch as the new group leader. It remains to be seen whether this was due to the conviction that the two are the best for this function or due to a lack of personnel alternatives.

Mohamed Ali and Bartsch were both elected with 76.9 percent of the vote. And they have this post for another two years. There, too, efforts were made to shorten this term of office.

Now everything stays the same. And the real question also remains: what must the left change in terms of content so that it does not fall under the heading of “other parties” in the next federal election?


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