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Sahra Wagenknecht at an event in Halle an der Saale


Sascha Fromm / Thueringer Allgemeine / IMAGO

The leader of the Left Party, Martin Schirdewan, has threatened to expel all those members who join Sahra Wagenknecht's newly founded association. It is "clear that those who participate in the formation of a rival party no longer have any business in our party and will be kicked out," Schirdewan said, according to information in the ZDF program "Berlin direkt," which will be broadcast this Sunday evening (19:10 p.m.). By this he means "all those who join this association, who have founded this association".

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One possible consequence would be the withdrawal of membership rights – "that is, that membership is revoked, that exclusion is declared," said Schirdewan. He referred to the party expulsion proceedings already underway against Wagenknecht.

MP Wagenknecht wants to present her association BSW ("Bündnis Sahra Wagenknecht") in Berlin on Monday. According to the announcement, the former parliamentary group leader Amira Mohamed Ali and the member of the Bundestag Christian Leye are also part of the party. This association could give rise to a new Wagenknecht party, which is expected to be founded in January.

Left faction could disintegrate

Schirdewan told ZDF that a "liquidation of the parliamentary group" was already being considered. It is clear that anyone who is no longer a member of the party can no longer be a member of the Left Party in the Bundestag.

As a result of the split, the Left Party is likely to lose its parliamentary group status in the Bundestag, and with it its opportunities to exert influence and financial contributions – because if two or more members of parliament leave, the Left Party would fall below the threshold required to form a parliamentary group.

Group leader Dietmar Bartsch had already declared that in this case the jobs of 108 parliamentary group employees were at stake. Bartsch accused Wagenknecht in Saturday's Tagesspiegel of being "lax with the fate of more than 100 employees." I expect that we will lose the parliamentary group status in January, when the new party is actually founded," Bartsch said.

Schirdewan said that the Left Party's executive committee was currently examining "which steps can be taken and how, how people can then possibly go into a liquidation of the parliamentary group in a socially cushioned way." A decision on the dissolution of the Left faction could be made at the parliamentary group meeting on 7 November.

Meanwhile, SPD leader Lars Klingbeil was open to admitting Left Party members: "Our doors are open," Klingbeil told the Welt am Sonntag. " I'm not going to hand out membership forms in the Left Party now," he added. But of course, anyone who stands up for freedom, justice and solidarity and wants to make a difference in our country is welcome in the SPD."

The former left-wing politician Thomas Lutze, who switched to the SPD, expects further defections in the event that the parliamentary group disintegrates as a result of a party founding by Wagenknecht. "If the parliamentary group breaks up, then more members of the Left Party will go to the Greens or the SPD," the member of the Bundestag told the editorial network Germany. "I would trust six to ten to switch to the SPD." Lutze had recently defected from the Left Party to the SPD and its parliamentary group.