The left currently governs in four federal states, but is in an existential crisis. A restart should succeed. The basis trusts the new management duo.

New dual leadership for the left: Janine Wissler and Martin Schirdewan were elected party leaders at the federal party conference in Erfurt on Saturday.

Both prevailed in the first ballot with an absolute majority against several competitors. They are considered real politicians who get along well with each other. They are supposed to lead the left out of the crisis after electoral defeats and trench warfare.

The 41-year-old Hessin Wissler received around 57.5 percent of the votes, the Berliner Schirdewan 61.3 percent. Wissler campaigned for himself on Friday with a combative speech at the beginning of the party conference. She admitted mistakes and at the same time campaigned for a renewal of the party. Apparently she was able to convince many delegates with this. Wissler has only been at the top of the left since February 2021. Her co-chair, Susanne-Hennig Wellsow, resigned in April.

Schirdewan has now been elected to the second position in the dual leadership. The 46-year-old is the co-chairman of the left in the European Parliament. In his application speech, he said he had experience in “steering and leading a motley collection of leftists”. Officially, he competed for the Thuringian state association.

Gysi demands a restart

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 the small-minded 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.