The federal and state leaders of the Left Party adopt a joint paper. Without naming her, the “Leipzig Declaration” reads like an open letter to her most prominent and controversial party member – Sahra Wagenknecht.

This paper has it all. “We are ready to fight for our common party,” says the first paragraph of the Leipzig declaration, which left-wing politicians passed on Saturday. The three-page text that FOCUS online is officially aimed at the party base. In fact, however, he warns Sahra Wagenknecht and her circle of supporters not to take things too far. The prominent 53-year-old has long been said to want to split the party and to want to miss the deathblow in the near future by founding a new party tailored to her needs. Their inner-party opponents want to do something to counteract this.

A united left “as a plural socialist party”, it is said, alluding to the founding of the party from the PDS and WASG fifteen years ago, is a historic achievement. Today this is in danger. “There is even speculation in public about the formation of an alternative party project.” Finally: “Our conflicts are currently culminating in a destructive conflict.”

In fact, the left offers a picture of division and conflicting responses. The members are running away from the party. From almost 80,000 in 2009, only 60,000 are left today. In the polls, the left is stuck at five percent. And federally, there is a picture of Zoff and dispute. Sahra Wagenknecht, the most prominent member of parliament, speaks across party and faction lines of the sanctions against Russia as an “economic war” and describes the Greens as the “most dangerous party”. This earns the left the applause of the AfD supporters, but does not bring her any votes.

Representatives of the party executive, the federal committee and the state and parliamentary group leaders of all states met this Saturday in Leipzig to discuss and adopt the declaration. Before the beginning of the year 2023 with five state elections, one wants to make the base understand: It is not Wagenknecht and her followers who set the pace, but us.

It is questionable whether this plan will work. The new party chairman Martin Schirdewahn – according to Wagenknecht a “wrong choice” – says it is time for a fundamental change of course. And his co-boss Janine Wissler invites everyone to get active together. This goes mainly to Sahra Wagenknecht and her husband Oskar Lafontaine.

In fact, rumors have been smoldering for months that Sahra Wagenknecht wants to leave the parliamentary group with some followers and found a new party. Sometimes it is said that the break will be completed by the end of the year. Then again, right in January, the new foundation can be expected. Finally: Wagenknecht and Co. would announce their split shortly before the Hesse elections in the fall, in order to use this opportunity to damage the state party of the Left Federal Chairwoman Janine Wissler. Immediately afterwards, in the spring of 2024, one could stand in the European elections, win mandates there because of the missing five percent hurdle and – strengthened in this way – set off towards the 2025 federal elections.

Wagenknecht himself is already flirting with the idea of ​​founding a new company. She told ARD in early December: “I think a reasonable party for peace and justice is urgently needed. Unfortunately, the left has largely vacated this space. This is one of the reasons why it is currently primarily the AfD that is benefiting from the increasing dissatisfaction.”

Wagenknecht found out in 2018 how difficult it is to set up a new company. At that time she was the head of the left parliamentary group in the Bundestag. But that didn’t stop her from getting up with the political organization. create a kind of competitive movement. However, the movement never got beyond a few viral commercials and a few demos with only a few hundred participants. As early as March 2019, half a year after it was founded, founder Sahra Wagenknecht retired from standing up! return. Reason: burnout.

Today she likes to say, get up! was simply poorly prepared. It could be different this time. According to a survey by the opinion research institute INSA, ten percent of those entitled to vote would vote for a Wagenknecht party. Thirty percent could at least imagine that. The fact is that if only four of the 39 deputies left, the left would lose its parliamentary group status. The party leadership’s paper sounds like a warning to the Wagenknechtler in the Bundestag: In the current peace and economic policy situation, “it is not enough to stop at the opposition to neoliberalism”.