Linke names Wissler and Bartsch top candidates | Free press

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Berlin (dpa) – Janine Wissler and Dietmar Bartsch lead the left as top candidates in the upcoming federal election campaign.

The co-party leader and the co-chairman of the left-wing parliamentary group were elected to the top duo on Monday with almost 87 percent of the votes in the party board, the left announced. Both will take over their party’s leading role in the election campaign.

Bartsch then announced the goal of achieving a double-digit result in the federal election on September 26. The goal is very realistic, otherwise it would not have been formulated that way, he said when asked. The situation is very volatile at the moment and surveys changed within days and weeks. Right now, the left is six to eight percent in polls. So far it has achieved a double-digit result: in the 2009 Bundestag elections it was 11.9 percent.

The top two candidates cited, among other things, the main election campaign issues the commitment to workers in poorly paid industries, the taxation of large assets, the fight against low pensions and child poverty and disarmament. “What is needed is a bold, radical and realistic policy,” said Wissler. It is not about minor corrections, but about a change of course. “We want to make a redistribution.” You can only fight poverty if you are willing to redistribute and tax very high incomes and wealth.

“We are not the set screws party, we want fundamental changes,” said Bartsch. On the left is the advocate of the real toppers, “the nurses, the educators, the parcel deliverers, the workers in the supermarkets”. Clapping is not enough. “We fight for the millions who have to toil for a mini-wage.”

The 63-year-old has been co-head of the left-wing parliamentary group in the Bundestag since 2015. Bartsch is from Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and is an experienced party strategist, considered a pragmatist and has long campaigned for the left to take over government responsibility if majorities allow it. Bartsch was also the top candidate in the last federal election in 2017, along with his then co-parliamentary leader Sahra Wagenknecht. At that time, the Left won 9.2 percent of the vote.

Janine Wissler, 39, has been co-party leader since February and is part of the left wing of the party. The Hessian is in principle also open to her party’s participation in the government, but strictly rejects any movement from leftist positions, for example when the German armed forces are no longer deployed abroad and arms exports are stopped.

She had recently rejected calls from the Greens to step into foreign policy. Robert Habeck, co-leader of the Greens, had told the Funke media group newspapers that the left-wing party “had to prove to a special degree that it is capable of ruling and willing to take responsibility for this country.” That includes a commitment to NATO. Wissler had refused.

Foreign and security policy is seen as the biggest bottleneck for a possible government alliance made up of the Greens, the SPD and the left. The Left strictly excludes foreign deployment of the Bundeswehr from its party program and calls for the dissolution of NATO “and its replacement by a collective security system with the participation of Russia, which has disarmament as its central goal.” She also advocates the abolition of the secret services and a ban on arms exports.

Wissler said Monday: “If there is a majority outside the Union after the elections, then all three parties are responsible for using it and seriously looking at which projects can also be implemented.”

Wissler’s co-party leader Susanne Hennig-Wellsow said on the Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg information radio about the two top candidates that Bartsch and Wissler were different in their lives and had different political experiences ” in the Hessian state parliament, in the Bundestag, East. , west. “In doing so, they also represented society with different needs.” There are two that go together and bring the left to the fore. “

The best candidate is not a formal position. Parties use it to determine the top sights for their election campaigns, for example for meetings, posters, election advertisements and talk shows. A certain position after the election is not automatically linked to it. However, a top candidate has the best chances of becoming a parliamentary leader if his party joins the Bundestag or if he participates in the government.