The left-wing politician Sahra Wagenknecht causes controversy with her positions. Party leader Martin Schirdewan is now commenting on rumors that Wagenknecht could found a new splinter party. Schirdewan protects her against allegations of being close to the AfD – but has an appeal for future appearances.

Despite the series of election defeats this year, Left Party leader Martin Schirdewan sees his party on the right track. Since the party congress in June, it has been possible to stabilize the left, Schirdewan told the German Press Agency. “I can assure you: We have a plan for party development and we are implementing this plan.” This will lead to the left regaining credibility and votes.

At the same time, Schirdewan warned against speculation about a split in the party. “We don’t need any debates about whether there will be a new foundation in some way,” he said, referring to the considerations of the former parliamentary group leader Sahra Wagenknecht. “That’s nonsense, I want to say that quite explicitly.” Wagenknecht had repeatedly criticized the party leadership and had not ruled out founding a party. At the same time, with deviating positions on migration or the Ukraine war, for example, she arouses internal resentment.

Schirdewan expressly defended Wagenknecht against the accusation that she was drifting politically to the right. “Sahra Wagenknecht is definitely not a politician who represents AfD positions,” said the party leader. “We are working on a clear language, also on a certain escalation.” But everyone in the party agrees that there should be no mixing to the right. “We have a clear edge against the right, we have an anti-fascist tradition and we will continue to strengthen it. Everyone who speaks out for the party in public must also fulfill this responsibility.”

With a view to his party and the coming year, Schirdewan said: “I’m not just a purposeful optimist, I’m actually optimistic at this point. It won’t stay the way it is, because it’s certainly not the way it was anymore.”

In 2022, the left had done poorly in Saarland, Schleswig-Holstein, North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony and missed the five percent hurdle in each case. In the 2021 federal election, she only achieved 4.9 percent and only has parliamentary group strength because she won three direct mandates.