The German far-left party Die Linke lost its group status in the Bundestag on Wednesday due to the departure of senior and influential member Sahra Wagenknecht, who set out to create a rival party, leaving the Bundestag without a far-left group for the first time in nearly two decades.
Die Linke’s dissolution followed the departure of Wagenknecht and nine other MPs who, after years of infighting, decided to set up the rival Sahra Wagenknecht Alliance (BSW). As the renegade group has now been dismissed by remaining Die Linke MPs, the far-left group no longer meets the quorum to be formally recognised as a proper parliamentary group known as Fraktion.
“This is a historic defeat for Die Linke. We need to get back on our feet quickly. An opposition including merely the [centre-right] CDU/CSU and those on the far-right is not enough. The Left is needed as the main social opposition,” group leader Dietmar Bartsch wrote on X on Wednesday.
Losing this status will significantly weaken the party, as it will lose the right to chair parliamentary committees and miss out on millions in public funding.
For now, the 38 former group members remain without a parliamentary group and with few participation rights. More than 100 staff will be out of work from March.
The Left’s uncertain future
Die Linke losing its parliamentary status marks a significant shift in Germany’s political landscape, spelling an uncertain future for the far-left camp.
Die Linke, which has its roots in the ruling Socialist Unity Party of East Germany, has been part of Germany’s political establishment since the 1990s.
However, it fell to 3% in recent polls, putting it under the 5% threshold needed to enter parliament.
Many within the party blame Wagenknecht for Die Linke’s decline, former leader Bernd Riexinger recently told Euractiv.
Wagenknecht, who has feuded with Die Linke leaders over the years, accusing them of focusing on “lifestyle” issues such as climate change rather than the financial woes of the lower classes, wants her new outlet to strike a more socially conservative tone – a shift that has made her particularly popular with far-right AfD voters and is unlikely to diminish her old party’s voter base, political scientists have found.
German left party facing existential crisis ahead of EU election
German left-wing party Die Linke (GUE/NGL) is on the verge of a split, with the charismatic former group leader Sahra Wagenknecht threatening to run with her own party in the European elections.
But which of the two factions will prevail in the long run remains unclear.
While a snap poll in October puts Wagenknecht’s BSW at 12%, actual support for the party remains uncertain as it faces its first electoral test in the upcoming European elections in June.
As for Bartsch, he said: “Above all, we [Die Linke] must ensure that we are back in the Bundestag as a parliamentary group in 2025.
(Nick Alipour | Euractiv.de)
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