It was a telling moment of silence. Like the party leaders with the constant interference of Sahra Wagenknecht want to get around, wanted a journalist from Susanne Hennig-Wellsow and Janine Wissler at the press conference of the left-wing leaders on Monday. The two women looked at each other questioningly, and finally said that they had already answered that. In fact, they hadn't answered that question before.
At that moment the perplexity was written on Wissler and Hennig-Wellsow's faces. How are they supposed to deal with Sahra Wagenknecht? And how should this continue until the federal election?
Election program bursts with government will
Monday could have been a good day for the party. At the weekend the SPD boss had Saskia Esken After the many traffic light speculations of the past few weeks, the left's hopes for possible participation in government were nourished by declaring that they would prefer to govern with the left and the Greens.
Now Wissler and Hennig-Wellsow submitted their draft for an electoral program that is bursting with government will: one wants to be "willing to compromise", they emphasize. No longer just promising the blue sky, as once, but pursuing a serious strategy how to implement part of it in a government, so the message of the preamble. Especially party leader Hennig-Wellsow is pushing for her party to be made fit for the government.
But what use is the demonstrative readiness to form alliances if the party is at the same time making every effort to question its ability to govern itself once more. Because instead of looking into the future, one gets bogged down once more in the wing dispute over Sahra Wagenknecht. On Wednesday the new book of the ex-parliamentary group leader is to appear; what was previously known about it is already provoking violent reactions.
The contents of the Wagenknecht book in short form: Die Linke neglects the workforce, climate and identity issues dominate too much.
These are Wagenknecht's already well-known theses, which one can share or not. But what upsets a large part of your party above all is the sharp rhetoric. The well-known comrade has chosen her so-called left-wing liberals as her opponent. There is talk of "quirks", of "bizarre minorities". The use of the "Fridays for future" movement has resulted in fewer people advocating climate protection. The strength of the AfD is due to the moralism of the left-wing liberals. Quite a few in the party feel insulted by their former icon immediately before the general election.
The response in the party was correspondingly large, and a huge wave of outrage rolled through the social networks in the past few days. On Saturday, Wagenknecht's election as the top candidate in North Rhine-Westphalia was on the brink, some in the party executive asked her to resign because of the book.
Wagenknecht gave an emotional defense speech at the list party conference and referred to her biography. It is "sick" to assume their racism. In the end she received in a fight vote a meager result at around 60 percent. It underlines how divided the party is when it comes to Wagenknecht.
Political office for self-marketing?
The displeasure with Wagenknecht has been growing for years, the book is now fueling the dispute at a very inopportune time. The faction is blasphemed why Wagenknecht is back for him at all Bundestag line up. She rarely appears at parliamentary group meetings, is absent from roll-call votes, makes no speeches, and does not sit on any committee. In the Bundestag election, she does not even accept her candidacy in her old Düsseldorf-Süd constituency, but only appears on the list. From her office it was said that Wagenknecht wanted to "get involved in the national election campaign with all his might."
Your critics accuse Wagenknecht of using their political office and the party only to market themselves and their books. The scolded, in turn, sensed a deliberate maneuver by her opponents because, contrary to her planning, excerpts from her book became known before the list party conference.
The anger is particularly great in the party executive. The board has only just been re-elected. Many younger people from those movements that Wagenknecht attacks are there. According to SPIEGEL information, there was a lively debate about the former parliamentary group leader on Sunday. In the end it was decided to distance oneself from her content without naming her. An extra decision was not made, only a few sentences were added in another decision.
The attempt behind it: not to make the anger with Wagenknecht even bigger. However, since the marketing of your book is just beginning, it will be difficult to keep the topic small.
How the dispute will continue is uncertain. Some unrest had also recently broken out among Wagenknecht's loyalists in the party. Several representatives of their camp failed at the party congress. At the list party conference in North Rhine-Westphalia there was now the next setback: Many Wagenknecht supporters achieved poor results, although they have nothing to do with the controversial book.
And the new party leaders?
"I assume that everyone who runs for the left stands on the foundations of the party and election program," Wissler said on Monday at the press conference on the Wagenknecht case. The coming weeks will show whether this is actually the case.