The left currently governs in four federal states, but is in an existential crisis. A restart should succeed. The base trusts the old and now also the new party leader.

Second chance for Janine Wissler: The 41-year-old Hessin was re-elected as party leader at the Federal Party of the Left in Erfurt on Saturday. Wissler was controversial after a series of defeats in federal and state elections as well as internal trench warfare. However, in the first ballot, she prevailed against two other candidates for the place in the dual leadership that was intended for women. She received around 57.5 percent of the votes.

With a combative speech at the beginning of the party conference, in which she acknowledged mistakes and campaigned for a renewal of the party, she was apparently able to convince many delegates. Wissler has only been at the top of the left since February 2021. Her co-chair, Susanne-Hennig Wellsow, resigned in April.

For the second post at the top of the party, several candidates appear at the party congress. The most promising candidates are Sören Pellmann, a member of the Bundestag, and Martin Schirdewan, a European politician. In addition to the management duo, the entire board, which has been reduced, is to be re-elected. There were ten applicants for the party chairmanship alone. The personnel changes are intended to help the left regain its footing.

At the party conference, Gregor Gysi, the former leader of the Left parliamentary group, called for a new start so that the Left would not slip into insignificance 15 years after it was founded by the PDS and WASG. The crisis also resulted from the fact that it was no longer clear what was the majority and what was the minority opinion on the left. He spoke of denunciations by party members among themselves. “This is unbearable.”

The 74-year-old appealed to the delegates: “Stop all that petty crap in our party.” The left has a place in society that cannot be replaced by any other party. “The country needs democratic socialists.”

In Erfurt, the Left also wants to determine its highly controversial position on Russia and its war of aggression in Ukraine.