Katja Kipping and Bernd Riexinger are leaving as chairmen of the Left Party. Their successors will be elected at the party conference at the end of October. Two women have a good chance.
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Who will lead the left party to the Bundestag election year? After chairmen Katja Kipping and Bernd Riexinger announced their retirement, the search for a new dual leadership now begins. Kipping and Riexinger want to explain their withdrawal to the party board this Monday first and then at a joint press conference. They announced on Friday evening and Saturday that they would not run for the next semester.
The decision was taken in March
Left-wing party leader Dietmar Bartsch called it “a sovereign decision of the two chairmen in time for the party conference”. Given the challenges in Germany and Europe, the left party “has a special responsibility to make a compelling substantive, strategic and personal offer for next year,” he told the Funke media group newspapers. Whether his party would participate in the government after the federal elections is “not the central question”. Bartsch did not want to participate in the top candidacy.
Kipping told the newspaper “taz” that she had already made the decision to withdraw in March. “Corona then thwarted our plans. In this situation, it would have been irresponsible to initiate a follow-up discussion.” But she again wanted to flee from a direct mandate in the Bundestag in Dresden.
Are you now being followed by a female team at the top?
At their party congress in Erfurt from October 30 to November 1, the left must now reposition itself. A double leadership with two women also seems possible: the group leaders from Hesse and Thuringia, Janine Wissler and Susanne Hennig-Wellsow, are seen as promising candidates. But other names are also under discussion. It is unclear how quickly the wings sort themselves. The two-day retreat of the parliamentary group, which starts on Thursday, is an important milestone.
The withdrawal of the top duo is no surprise. According to the articles of association, a party position may not be held for more than eight years. Kipping (now 42) and Riexinger (64) took over the party leadership in 2012. At the time, the left was about to split after an unprecedented power struggle between competing wings. Riexinger triumphed against current group chairman Dietmar Bartsch.
Among the trade unionists from Baden-Württemberg and the Slavists from Saxony, the left came in at 8.6 and 9.2 percent in the federal elections in 2013 and 2017. Today it is between 6 and 9 percent in the polls. Kipping in particular remained controversial as a party leader. She fought hard arguments with the left-wing party Sahra Wagenknecht, which has since resigned as group chairman and has been replaced by Amira Mohamed Ali.