Martin Schirdewan, the newly elected co-chairman of the Left Party, is not a gifted speaker.

Even in his application speech at the Left Party Congress on Saturday in Erfurt, he did not outdo himself.

He promised to do politics for pensioners "who have worked hard for years" and for single parents who are afraid of their electricity bills, to connect unions and the climate movement, to draw consequences from the sexism scandal.

Helen Bubrowski

Political correspondent in Berlin.

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It's the familiar hodgepodge, something for everyone.

However, he stood out at the Erfurt party conference with a demand that would be banal at most political events in Germany: “Russia must withdraw its troops from Ukraine.” Ukraine said.

Instead, many crude theses were heard, for example: It is just as imperialistic as attacking a country if many major powers pump tons of weapons into a country.

Schirdewan, born in East Berlin in 1975, has a sense of reason, relatively speaking.

He, too, castigated armament and military intervention, and for this reason did not agree to a European Parliament resolution condemning the Russian attack.

The grandson of a high-ranking SED functionary, who fell out of favor for criticizing Stalinism, is one of the reformers in his party.

The Thuringian state association is behind his candidacy.

Wagenknecht camp loses influence

In terms of content, he is close to Dietmar Bartsch, but unlike the parliamentary group leader, he doesn't think much of the "horseshoe", the tactical power alliance of the pragmatists with the camp of left-wing icon Sahra Wagenknecht.

Their influence has decreased significantly.

Sören Pellmann, a Wagenknecht confidant, was eliminated in the first ballot, even though he had won the important direct mandate in Leipzig.

Together with co-chairman Janine Wissler, Schirdewan takes over a party in a desolate state, which in Erfurt did not give the impression of wanting to be saved.

The political scientist, who has a doctorate, is optimistic: He has experience in "steering and leading a colorful collection of leftists." He has been a member of the European Parliament since 2017, and since 2019 he has led the group together with the Frenchman Manon Aubry from "La France insoumise". European left faction.

In Strasbourg and Brussels, the father of a child learned that stubbornness is harmful and that unusual alliances help to achieve results.

Schirdewan wants to remain a member of the European Parliament.

It is "an enormous advantage" for the party that someone with experience in European politics is at the top, he says.

The next nationwide election the party has to face is the European election in 2024.