After the vaccination statement: How the left quarrel with Sahra Wagenknecht

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Status: 01.11.2021 7:23 p.m.

After Sahra Wagenknecht publicly reported doubts about the corona vaccinations, her violent criticism is countered. Also from your own party. There one is visibly tired of the former figurehead going it alone.

By Sarah Frühauf, ARD capital studio

It is Monday noon, time for the weekly press conference of the left in the Karl-Liebknecht-Haus. For a few minutes, chairwoman Susanne Hennig-Wellsow speaks about the corona situation, the world climate summit and the anniversary of the NSU exposure. To the TV appearance of her party colleague Sahra Wagenknecht the evening before in the ARD-Broadcast Anne Will she doesn’t say a word at first.

At the first question, Hennig-Wellsow has to smile – crisis humor. She knows she can’t get around the subject. How annoyed is she with performances like Wagenknecht’s? Hennig-Wellsow can barely suppress a sigh. But she cannot hide her resignation: she says she can no longer explain Wagenknecht.

Vaccination as an individual decision

It is another high point of the seemingly never-ending series “Sahra Wagenknecht against their own party.” at Anne Will known Wagenknecht not to be vaccinated. Argued with uncertain long-term consequences. SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach objected vehemently, accusing her of talking nonsense. Wagenknecht stuck to it: vaccination is an individual decision.

A statement that makes you sit up and take notice, because the demand for social solidarity at the core of the brand belongs to the left. Party leader Hennig-Wellsow feels compelled to make it clear that there is a resolution in which it says that the left supports every vaccination campaign.

Wagenknecht polarizes and provokes

The party does not have it easy with Wagenknecht. She is still the most famous face on the left. If it occurs, the marketplaces are full. At the moment, this rarely happens at events organized by the Left. Wagenknecht is a figurehead, especially in the east. There, where the left is losing more and more approval and numerous citizens are now voting for the AfD instead of the left. But Wagenknecht polarized and provoked. Not just through their political perspectives. For example, she does not discuss appearances like the one yesterday with the party leadership.

In the federal election campaign, she caused a stir with a book in which she accused the party of aloofness. A kind of general accounting in which she coined the term “lifestyle left”. And she preferred to spend election day with a “Spiegel” journalist who accompanied her to dinner than with her party colleagues.

A kind of truce

In the past few weeks it looked like a kind of truce. The party chairman Hennig-Wellsow invited Wagenknecht and her partner Oskar Lafontaine to an election campaign in Weimar in the summer. It went on in a conciliatory manner: To the surprise of many, Wagenknecht came to the meeting of the Bundestag faction at the end of October. Didn’t speak up, but was there anyway. Which was rarely the case in the previous legislature.

It seemed as if Wagenknecht had taken the electoral debacle of the left to heart. No more, as the party repeatedly says, “polyphony”. Which is a euphemism for the fact that you have now argued enough on the open stage.

Counteracts the new unity offensive

But then, a good month after the general election, Wagenknecht appeared on a talk show and thwarted the party’s new unity offensive. Now “Die Linke” is falling back into its old pattern. Left-wing members publicly vent their frustration. Henriette Quade, a member of the state parliament in Saxony-Anhalt, writes on Twitter that Wagenknecht’s “oaths” would endanger people.

Demands for Wagenknecht to be expelled from the party are also rising again. But the left cannot easily do without Wagenknecht. She not only has critics in the party, but also numerous supporters. Especially in the parliamentary group, which only consists of 39 members. Their condition is fragile: if three left, the left would lose its parliamentary group status. At the end of the press conference, Hennig-Wellsow was asked what she was going to do now. Yes, there will be talks, she says. And smiles briefly.

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