Oscar Lafontaine resigns from the Left Party – Wagenknecht wants to stay
Oscar Lafontaine complains that the Left Party is no longer a “left alternative to the politics of social insecurity and inequality”. This is why the 78-year-old is leaving the party. But his wife, Sahra Wagenknecht, wants to stay.
DrOscar Lafontaine, co-founder and former leader of the Left Party, has left the party. The 78-year-old made the announcement on Thursday in Saarbrücken. I wanted there to be a left-wing alternative to the politics of social insecurity and inequality on the political spectrum, which is why I co-founded the Left Party. “The left today has abandoned this claim,” La Fontaine said in a statement.
The party “has gradually transformed into a party that pursues similar goals and strives for the same electoral environment as the Green Party.” For this reason many employees and retirees “refused”, returned to the SPD, became non-voters or voted for Alternative for Germany in protest. Ordinary and low-income earners or retirees will no longer feel represented by the Left Party.
Read La Fontaine’s account on the WELT interview from the end of 2021
Lafontaine accused the parliamentary group’s foreign policy spokesman, Gregor Gyzy, party leader Hennig Welsau (sic!) and other members of the parliamentary group, of having spoken in favor of approving the federal government’s proposal to increase arms spending and large-scale arms deliveries to Ukraine. This was also a departure from the party’s peace policy principles – even if the left-wing faction in the Bundestag eventually voted against the federal government’s proposal, Lafontaine added.
Party leaders and left-wing factions deplored Oscar Lafontaine’s departure from the party. Susan Hennig-Wilso and Janine Whistler, as well as parliamentary group leaders Amira Muhammad Ali and Dietmar Barch, said Thursday in Berlin. “We believe his resignation was wrong and we regret that,” he added.
Gregor Jesse also agreed. However, he stressed that, unlike La Fontaine’s account, he would remain “a staunch opponent of rearmament”. “My memory of him and our cooperation are mostly positive,” Gezi added to the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung.
Wagenknecht does not want to leave
In March 1999, in a dispute with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, Lafontaine resigned as head of the SPD, and in 2005, after leaving the SPD, the Electoral Alternative for Work and Social Justice in West Germany (WASG) united with the East German PDS to form the Left. party, party. With his exit from the party, the party’s disqualification proceedings against La Fontaine in the Left Party were settled.
La Fontaine’s wife’s office, Sahra Wagenknecht, told WELT that the former parliamentary group leader would remain a member of the Left Party and was not planning to leave.
La Fontaine himself also ended his political career, because with the state elections in Saarland on March 27, he turned his back on more than 50 years of active politics. Most recently, he has led the left-wing faction in the Saarland State Parliament since 2009. He bid farewell on Wednesday to its last session of the state parliament with many words of thanks.
“Oscar,” as he is called in Saarland, was just about everything you could become in German political life: mayor of Saarbrücken, SPD head of state, Prime Minister of Saarland (1985-1998), SPD candidate for chancellor (1990), SPD – President of the Union, Federal Minister of Finance, one of the founders of the Left and its party and leader of the parliamentary group in the Bundestag.