Much ado about new Wagenknecht party in Germany

After months of speculation, German politician Sahra Wagenknecht has quit the Left Party to found her own party. Some MPs are following her, with the result that The Left could lose its parliamentary group status. But the announcement will also cause consternation at the other end of the political spectrum, commentators point out.

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

A mirror image of the AfD

Competition for the AfD, observes Corriere della Sera:

“So now the only true star of the German left has gone independent, left the Left and, in the best tradition of personality-based politics, is founding a party that will bear her name. It will be called the BSW — Bündnis Sahra Wagenknecht — and aims to be the left-wing version of what the AfD is on the right: a big populist and nationalist party. ... Wagenknecht wants Germany to leave Europe and close its borders to migrants. She is pro-Putin, pro-coal, doesn’t care about climate change, and demands more redistribution of income. She calls herself conservative, and it’s easy to see that her programme is a mirror image of that of the AfD.”

Mara Gergolet
The Spectator (GB) /

All or nothing

It is by no means certain that Wagenknecht will succeed with her party, The Spectator observes:

“She may well find a sweet spot in Germany’s political landscape, targeting the anti-immigrant voters who disagree with some of the economic and social policies of the AfD. Her arguments against mass immigration and radical green regulation, and calls for the protection of the working class in Germany have the potential to resonate with this demographic. Working against the rise of the alliance is the element of the personality cult: the party political focus on one individual often leads to a downfall once the leadership loses charisma or stumbles publicly one way or another. Wagenknecht may be seeking the spotlight, but the question is whether her days in it have come to an end.”

Constantin Eckner
Handelsblatt (DE) /

One becomes two

Wagenknecht may be able to do what Friedrich Merz hasn’t been able to achieve with the CDU, Handelsblatt believes:

“Namely the halving of the AfD. Those who don’t want it to be quite so right-wing extremist and take money away from the rich will give their votes to the new alliance. The advantage is obvious: the AfD’s frighteningly large political power bloc would possibly shrink back to a democratically acceptable normal size. The disadvantage: instead of one purely extreme protest party in the Bundestag, there would be two.”

Thomas Sigmund