Sahra Wagenknecht Alliance: What Is Germany’s New Party?

Germany has traditionally had a strong sense of pluralism. This phenomenon is a feature of German society, its desire to limit power by introducing checks and balances. The emergence of new parties is driven by the passage of time and the needs of people, rather than desires of a specific group, indicating that it’s a long process. Apparently, this is the moment in German society right now. The times are epochal. The central government is weakening and ready to surrender sovereignty to Brussels and Washington. Parties, such as the Christian Social Union, the Christian Democratic Union of Germany, the Social Democratic Party of Germany, the Free Democratic Party of Germany, the Alternative for Germany, or the Left, have little to say about national sovereignty, the German economy, and the crisis of central power in the wake of Angela Merkel’s departure. All more focused on migrants, carbon-free energy, intra-party squabbles, Ukraine, and thoughts of when the failed chancellor will resign.

The only exception is the Alternative for Germany, which favors both national sovereignty and withdrawal from the European Union. However, it stands out from other parties for its right-wing slogans. While attracting many radical voters on the one hand, it alienates much of the moderate votership, that makes up the bulk of electorate. This is why Alternative for Germany will not succeed in winning over the other parties, but will continue to attract votes from them.

Now, a political force has emerged in Germany that has the ability to unite those with moderate views, who criticize the current government’s actions, and who reject traditional German nationalism typically affiliated with Alternative for Germany. The name of this force is ‘Sahra Wagenknecht Alliance – Reason and Justice’.

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Sahra Wagenknecht

Ms. Wagenknecht, who ranked third among German politicians several times over the past year, created a party because she believes that the existing political forces do not represent the interests of German citizens. Multiple global crises in Europe are fraught with a decline in living standards, social and economic well-being in Germany. Once known as the locomotive of the European Union, Germany today is reduced to a pitiful semblance of its former self. This is because today’s German government, one of the least competent in German history, is unable to cope with the current challenges. Due to this stance of elites, the electorate does not support moderate parties; instead, they opt for the right-wing Alternative for Germany. Similar statements were once made by many left-wing politicians. It was they who became the basis of the Alliance, which, in principle, is not surprising, since Ms. Wagenknecht herself came from the Left Party.

The experts’ reaction is ambiguous: by absorbing the most moderate and best of Alternative for Germany and the Left, the Alliance has begun to attract bright representatives of other popular German parties. What does that mean? Those who previously voted in favor of the CSU or CDU, now, seeing familiar names in the lists, but already under the banners of Ms. Wagenknecht, will go and cast their vote for the new German party.

A similar example is the case of former Düsseldorf mayor Thomas Geisel (SPD), who decided to switch to Ms. Wagenknecht’s new party. The former mayor of Düsseldorf has announced that he will run in the European elections on June 9, 2024. Many of his associates admit that such a decision came as a surprise to the entire party. Thus, Jochen Ott, Head of the Parliamentary Group of the Social Democratic Party of Germany in the Parliament of the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia, stated that he knew Mr. Geisel closely, but “could not have imagined that he would dare to take such a step”. Mr. Ott added that he was not afraid that other SPD members would follow the former Düsseldorf mayor.

In 2023, Thomas Geisel celebrated 40 years of membership in the Social Democratic Party. However, he has had doubts about the migration policy for the past 30 years: “The SPD has maintained a policy denying the present day in relation to asylum and immigration for almost 30 years.” This is one of his arguments in favor of leaving the party. Despite the serious move, he assured that he would “always remain a Social Democrat at heart until the end of his days.” Such personalities are not the last politicians in Germany. A politician switching from one party to another at the height of her political career shows that Ms. Wagenknecht has as much to offer her allies as her rivals. Don’t underestimate her.

Ms. Wagenknecht herself is “in favor” of long-term cooperation with Russia, restoring Nord Stream, refusing to supply arms to Ukraine, and immediately forcing Zelenskyy into peace talks. As opinion polls show, this approach is popular among ordinary Germans: if elections were held in the next month, 27% of those who went to the polls would vote for the new party, which is quite significant.

Will the Alliance succeed in winning a place under the sun? The question is a good one. She is quite a well-known politician and enjoys popular support in her homeland of Germany. But her program, and, in a way, the reputation of the new party itself, raise certain doubts. It will get support in Germany, but is unlikely to reach the pan-European level: Brussels won’t allow it. The bureaucrats in power, led by Ursula von der Leyen, are looking toward Washington rather than into the hearts and minds of Europeans.

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