Red-Green-Red: Can the Left Compromise?

SUsanne Hennig-Wellsow holds a tightly printed note in her hand, all kinds of boxes can be seen. He describes the possibilities that exist for explorations and negotiations about a new government after the general election. The left chair does not say what it says. But she makes it clear that her party wants to do a lot to be there for the first time. “The left wants to seize the historic opportunity to change politics,” she says. Hennig-Wellsow is certain that a red-green-red alliance must at least be discussed by the desired coalition partners.

Already after the last two federal elections it was mathematically possible to forge such a coalition – politically, however, it was considered hopeless. But this time we will talk, says the left boss. “Unlike in 2013 and 2017, the SPD and the Greens cannot afford not to take up any explorations with us.” In the left-wing leadership, it is not assumed that the SPD and the Greens will then want to negotiate further. But if other options fail, such as a traffic light coalition of Social Democrats and Greens with the FDP, then the Left could get a second chance in November or December, according to the party headquarters.

Hennig-Wellsow, who helped negotiate a red-red-green government in Thuringia as early as 2014, is definitely determined to take advantage of such an opportunity. “If there is a chance, we should also go into negotiations with the SPD and the Greens.” Three issues are considered to be decisive for the outcome of the negotiations: foreign and security policy, the Left Party’s SED past and the social question – it would be for her party, according to Hennig-Wellsow, “the decisive point”. The top left wants to prepare so well that compromises can be made. Regarding the Bundeswehr missions abroad, which, according to the election program, are to be ended and then completely abolished, it is said, for example, that the current mission in Mali could be approved if this would initiate the withdrawal of the Bundeswehr from the North African country.

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How divided the left is on such questions, however, has shown their voting behavior on the mandate of the Bundeswehr in the evacuation of local forces and other endangered people from Afghanistan. Although left-wing MPs themselves reported hundreds of people who had to be rescued from the Taliban, the parliamentary group did not agree to the mandate. Hennig-Wellsow himself had pleaded for approval, but the party executive decided to abstain – a position also held by co-boss Janine Wissler. Only five MPs voted yes, seven voted no, 43 abstained. The chance to present oneself as a reliable partner in terms of foreign policy before the election was wasted.

Has been proving his suitability for government for over six years: Thuringia's Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow (Die Linke)


Has been proving his suitability for government for over six years: Thuringia’s Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow (Die Linke)
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Image: dpa

When it comes to NATO, the left does not want to support the hated military alliance. But top candidate Dietmar Bartsch recently made it clear that the word did not matter. If a new collective security system is strived for, he said it could also be called “NATO”. In a further question of confession, namely the view of the GDR, an experience from Hennig-Wellsow’s homeland Thuringia comes into play. In 2014, under the leadership of Bodo Ramelow, the Left was very accommodating to the SPD and the Greens by accepting the characterization of the GDR as an “unjust state”. The left can apparently now envisage something similar for negotiations in the federal government.

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