The left

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The left
Susanne Hennig-WellsowJanine Wissler
Party leader Susanne Hennig-Wellsow
Janine Wissler
vice-chairman Ali Al-Dailami
Ates Gürpinar
Tobias Pflüger
Martina Renner
Katina Schubert
Jana Seppelt
Federal Managing Director Jörg Schindler
Federal Treasurer Harald Wolf
Emergence Union of PDS (successor of the SED ) with WASG (spin-off of the SPD )
founding June 16, 2007
Place of foundation Berlin
Headquarters Karl-Liebknecht-Haus
Kleine Alexanderstraße 28
10178 Berlin
P.O. Box 100
10122 Berlin
Youth organization Left youth Solid (related)
Party-affiliated foundation Rosa Luxemburg Foundation
Alignment Anti-capitalism

Democratic Socialism Anti-
Green Politics

Colours) Red ( HKS 14 )
Magenta (in graphics)
Bundestag seats
Seats in state parliaments
Government grants 14,171,827.59 euros (2020)
Number of members 60,350
(as of December 31, 2020)
Minimum age 14 years
Average age 55 years
(as of December 31, 2019)
Proportion of women 36.56 percent
(as of December 31, 2020)
European party European Left (EL)
EP Group The left

Die Linke (spelling: DIE LINKE; also known as the Left Party or Die Linken ) is a left , democratic-socialist party in Germany .

The Left was created on June 16, 2007 through the merger of the SPD spin-off WASG and the Linkspartei.PDS . The latter emerged in June 2005 by renaming from the SED successor party PDS , which took place “in the interest of a new left in Germany with a political impact”. In order to represent both parties and their origins from East and West Germany in the executive bodies, the “dual leadership”, which has been retained to this day, was elected. Today's basic program of the party was adopted in 2011. In the current 19th German Bundestag , Die Linke is the second smallest parliamentary group . The two group chairmen are Amira Mohamed Ali and Dietmar Bartsch .

In the East German states , the left is represented in all state parliaments. In Brandenburg she was a junior partner in a red-red coalition ( Cabinet Woidke I and Cabinet Woidke II ) from 2009 to 2019 and in Thuringia she has been part of a red-red-green coalition with Bodo Ramelow for the first time since 2014 - interrupted by the government crisis in 2020 Prime Minister in a German federal state. In Berlin, she has also been ruling in a red-red-green coalition since 2016 - albeit under the leadership of the SPD. She is represented in the parliaments of the western German states in Hamburg , Hesse , Saarland and Bremen , and since August 2019 she has been a member of a red-green-red government under SPD leadership for the first time in a western German state.

In the GUE / NGL parliamentary group in the European Parliament , it is the party with the third most MPs and is chairman of the parliamentary group , along with Martin Schirdewan , who was also the top candidate of the Left Party in the 2019 European elections in Germany . She is a member of the European Left and participates in the Forum of the New European Left (NELF).



The party sees itself "in a party-political tradition that goes back to Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht ". On June 16, 2007, Lothar Bisky declared at the Left Party Congress that Die Linke saw itself in the tradition of the former Chancellor Willy Brandt and his motto "Dare more democracy", with which he wanted to overcome the domestic political stagnation of the post-war period in Germany . At the founding party congress, Oskar Lafontaine historically categorized Die Linke as follows: “It stands in the tradition of those who were persecuted under Bismarck's socialist laws and they stand in the tradition of those who perished in Hitler's concentration camps, and it feels that they are the legacy of them obliged who were imprisoned as social democrats in the GDR as well as the communists who were imprisoned and persecuted in the Federal Republic of Germany. Both belong together, and both must be said. ”Die Linke cites the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany as the starting point of its policy , in which it recognizes a call for“ democratic socialism ”.


On March 24th and 25th, 2007, at the joint congress of the Left Party and the Labor & Social Justice party - Die Wahlalternative (WASG) in Dortmund, key points for the new party Die Linke were adopted. The document contains some basic positions of the left and cornerstones of their politics. The left wants to achieve “social, democratic and peacemaking reforms to overcome capitalism ”.

The federal party conference 2015 in Bielefeld.

On June 20 and 21, 2009, at the 2009 Bundestag election convention in Berlin, the party's Bundestag election program was adopted. The programmatic cornerstones took on the legal role of the party program prescribed by law for a party , but presented only one, albeit extensive, programmatic paper in terms of content. On October 23, 2011 at the Erfurt party congress with 503 votes, 4 against and 12 abstentions first party program decided. This corresponds to an approval rate of 96.9 percent. In the membership decision from November 17 to December 15, 2011, the party program was confirmed with a quorum of 95.8 percent.

Economic and financial policy

Gregor Gysi , former mayor and Senator for Economics, Labor and Women of the State of Berlin and from 2005 to 2015 chairman of the left-wing parliamentary group in the German Bundestag - from 2013 to 2015 also leader of the opposition

In terms of wage policy , Die Linke advocates an increase in wages and salaries within the framework of annual productivity growth and the target inflation rate of the European Central Bank , which are to be negotiated at the macroeconomic level via collective agreements .

Public investments and other expenditures in education, research, culture, ecological renovation and public infrastructure are to be increased by at least 40 billion euros annually. Larger companies are supposed to pay significantly more taxes overall, while Die Linke calls for the possibility of higher depreciation for investing companies . The wealth tax , which has not been levied since 1997 due to the unconstitutionality of the law at that time, is to be reintroduced and the inheritance tax on large inheritances is to be increased. In terms of income tax , Die Linke calls for the introduction of a linear tax rate that is intended to relieve middle and lower incomes, as well as an increase in the top tax rate to 50% or more, which would result in a partial withdrawal of the 2000 tax reform . In addition, the focus is on the elimination of tax-saving options , which, in the opinion of the Left, particularly benefit the wealthy and high earners.

The financial markets are to be subjected to stronger state control, among other things with the aim of restricting the speculation of securities and foreign exchange. By tightening antitrust legislation, the party wants to decentralize and further divide private economic power. In return, cooperatives and other forms of solidarity-based economy are to be promoted.

The reduced tax rate of seven percent is to be introduced on all products and services for minors, on pharmacy-only medicines, work-stressing craft services and in the hospitality and catering trade.

In the long term, the party would like to transfer “structurally-determining large companies in the economy” into public ownership (state or municipal property, cooperatives, employee ownership) and give employees democratic control over the companies, but rejects “all-encompassing state ownership”.

Social policy

Poster for the federal election 2013

Representatives of the party refer to the social policy of the current and past governments as " welfare cuts ". Social risks should be adequately covered, a certain standard of living in old age should be guaranteed. In order to achieve these goals, Die Linke calls for the withdrawal of all Hartz reform laws , especially the fourth stage (popularly: "Hartz 4"). Instead, the aim is to bind the social security systems to the state by strengthening their solidarity-based elements and by renewing self-administration . In addition, Die Linke advocates “repression-free” and needs-based basic security for people at risk of poverty . The compulsion to take up work through punishments with reductions in benefits below the socio-cultural subsistence level are rejected.

The left calls for higher wages and the prevention of old-age poverty through rising pensions. The statutory pension insurance is to be converted into an employment insurance , in which members of all professional groups will gradually be included. The pensions in the new federal states are to be raised to the level of the old federal states . Raising the retirement age to over 65 is rejected. Instead, flexible exit options before the age of 65 and a retirement age from 60 years without deductions are sought.

Child poverty is to be counteracted by increasing the child benefit to 200 euros .

The party criticizes the tripartite school system . The financing and additional provision of apprenticeships for young people is to be financed by a training place levy from non-training companies.

In the health care sector, Die Linke, like the SPD, advocates citizens' insurance with equal co-financing by employers. The party criticizes “profit-oriented structures” in the health care system.

Die Linke considers the following points to be particularly important:

  • Better cooperation between doctors, hospitals and all service providers
  • Promotion of health centers, centralization of health services
  • Introduction of a state-defined positive list for prescription drugs
  • Higher pay for medical and nursing staff
  • Better patient rights

The left advocates the preservation and expansion of public services and the safeguarding of local self-government . The sale of public property in apartments and utilities is to be prevented. The right to housing is to be included in the Basic Law .

Labor market policy

2006 poster calling for a minimum wage of € 8. The amount of the required minimum wage has been adjusted several times since then.

The Left would like to enable workers to self-determination , which they see as being withheld , and underline the importance of solidarity and criticize the economic system's exclusive competitive orientation.

The most important points are:

  • Reduction of working hours;
  • new jobs through ecological and social restructuring;
  • publicly funded and designed employment sectors;
  • an active labor market policy that focuses on those with particularly poor opportunities in the labor market ;
  • a productivity- oriented wage policy ( i.e. real wages rise in step with labor productivity );
  • a statutory minimum wage of a living wage ;
  • full social security for all employment relationships and humanization of work;
  • Validity of domestic social standards for all workers here;
  • Awarding public contracts to companies that adhere to high social and ecological standards in Germany and support the improvement of these standards in a global context.

In order to be able to achieve these goals, Die Linke actively seeks cooperation with the trade unions .

Domestic politics and understanding of democracy

In the “ fight against international terrorism ”, the left is noticing more and more restrictions on democracy and the dismantling of basic and freedoms . Criticism is leveled against international organizations (especially NATO ) and also European institutions. The spread of distrust and suspicion, especially against followers of the Islamic faith , should be countered by a “culture of dialogue and cooperation”.

The left wants to build an "economic, political and cultural order of societies on the basis of democratic decisions" and also let the population participate in democratic decision-making in its development.

Civil participation is to be more closely integrated into parliamentary democracy . The party is thus striving for a close connection between parliamentary and direct democracy , which is to be made possible through the introduction of nationwide plebiscites and decisions . Democratic participation is also to be strengthened through planning, control and objection rights for environmental organizations, consumer associations, trade unions, associations and other civil society forces as well as citizens. Moreover, the Left proposes the introduction of so-called participatory budgeting before: Citizens should have the budget of their municipality should co-decide directly for the purpose of more active participation. The left orientates itself on the scientific concept of the citizen commune and demands the expansion of the position of the communes in the federal system .

The democratization process should also include strengthening individual rights. State action should be verifiable by a new, independent supervisory body - this task has so far been carried out by the courts . Each individual should also be protected from unjustified access by the state. This also includes the right to determine one's own data and its use ( informational self-determination ). The strict separation of the police and the armed forces, as well as the police and secret services , is firmly adhered to. The party rejects an amendment to the Basic Law that would allow the Bundeswehr to be deployed domestically.

The left strives for social control over all forms of economic power. Through equal participation of the employees, their trade unions as well as representatives of the regions and consumers, financial power is to be subordinated to democratic interests . In addition, the political strike and the general strike should be made possible.

The concept of equality should be extended to include the characteristics of origin, gender, sexual identity, disability, ethnic and religious affiliation. All people living and working in Germany and the European Union are entitled to the same rights, according to the wishes of the left. To ensure this, an effective and comprehensive anti-discrimination law is required that goes beyond the existing one and includes the possibility of collective action. In addition, the right to vote is to be extended to all people living in Germany. The Left is campaigning for the harmonization of asylum law in Europe.

The immigrants from different cultures living in Germany are seen as enrichment and the structuring of the integration of the immigrant population is seen as a social challenge. For the minorities living on German territory, an extension of their participation rights and appropriate public funding for the preservation and further development of their languages ​​and cultures is required. The right-wing extremism is therefore to be more ostracized and fought politically. This includes in particular the "intensification of anti-fascist educational work". That is why civil society structures against right-wing extremism are to be strengthened by expanding the financial support for corresponding initiatives and advisory teams. Die Linke wants to pay more attention to the observation of right-wing extremism in an international context.

The rule of law is to be reshaped according to social and solidarity aspects, which is to aim at a change in the relationship between state, economy and society. The welfare state requirement is to be concretized by establishing the principles of social justice and the requirement of state protection for the most important risks in life. This includes ensuring a fair distribution of social wealth. Basic social rights should also be included in the Basic Law in order to enforce the welfare state.

Environmental policy

According to their ideas, the party's desired economic policy is oriented towards the common good and environmental protection . The goal is the unity of social, ecological and economic sustainability. For example, a tax and levy system is to be developed that promotes environmentally friendly behavior and pollutes behavior that is harmful to the environment.

Participation of the party Die Linke in the Berlin demonstration against nuclear power

The primary goal of an ecological conversion is to decentralize electricity generation and supply . To this end, the power grids are to be nationalized . According to the Left, increasing energy efficiency, reducing energy consumption and focusing on renewable energies are necessary to solve energy problems. The party would like to accelerate the nuclear phase-out . In addition, the export of nuclear technology is decidedly rejected.

Further goals of the left’s environmental and nature conservation policy are:

  • Sustainable use of natural resources and comprehensive environmental education
  • Environmentally friendly regional economic cycles
  • Expansion of ecological land and forest management
  • Designation of further nature and landscape protection areas as well as a comprehensive network of biotopes
  • Reduction of environmentally harmful subsidies in favor of financing for environmental and nature conservation measures
  • consistent implementation of the European nature conservation directives and the provision of the necessary funds in public budgets
  • Rapidly push ahead with the implementation of the National Strategy for Biodiversity and increase the annual budget for this to 50 million euros
  • To minimize the fragmentation of the landscape of existing highways by wild bridges
  • Comprehensive information, participation and complaint rights for citizens as well as for environmental and nature conservation associations
  • Promotion of targeted renaturation measures
  • To give priority to environmental compatibility in construction work
  • general ban on animal experiments
  • Limitation of land use through sealing

In a joint comparison of the environmental policy demands of the parties represented in the Bundestag by the youth organizations of NABU and BUND , the positions of Die Linke and those of NABU and BUND were one hundred percent identical.

Agricultural policy

The left calls for an "agricultural policy oriented towards the common good". The ecologically harmful and socially unjust subsidy policy of the EU's common agricultural policy must be ended. The export-oriented and profit-maximizing orientation of agriculture is in favor of local circuits and the industrial agriculture of peasant agriculture soft. Land grabbing is to be consistently banned and non-agricultural investors are to be excluded from the acquisition of agricultural land, as these continue to put producer prices under pressure.

The Organic Farming is to massively promoted and the structural diversity are obtained in agriculture through such as hedgerows, ponds or dry stone walls and by a number of mounting structure. The Left advocates area-based animal husbandry and against factory farming. In addition, the Left advocates a general ban on green genetic engineering and a general right to reproduce and against patents on seeds.

The left regularly participates in the We're-fed-up! -Demonstrations which speak out "against the agricultural industry, against factory farming and for an agricultural turnaround".

Transport policy

The party advocates an " ecological traffic turnaround ". The privatization policy in the transport sector is to be ended and local public transport to be improved through new offers. The freight will be more concentrated on the rail. Kerosene for the operation of aircraft is to be taxed .

The party calls for the gradual taxation of biofuels to be withdrawn , as these are hindering the development of climate-friendly fuels. At the same time, efforts should be made to ensure that biofuels are only produced sustainably and that only sustainably produced fuels are imported.

Die Linke advocates nationwide free public transport. For this purpose, a three-phase model with a three-year development period was presented.

European politics

The left is critical of the current structure and political orientation of the European Union. The party has set itself the goal of strengthening the democratic, social, ecological and peace-political dimensions. New goals are to be set for the European Union. A “militarization” of the EU is strictly rejected by the party and the dissolution of the US military bases in Europe is called for.

The ratification of the Lisbon Treaty was rejected with reference to military-political and neoliberal economic-political obligations. From the perspective of the party, the treaty leads to a militarization of the common foreign and security policy . The neoliberal orientation of the text of the treaty and the desired type of increased cooperation between police and security services are also criticized. Ultimately, the euro crisis proves the inadequacy of the existing EU treaties. For this reason, the EU's primary law principles are to be comprehensively renewed in a constitution with the participation of EU citizens .

The Left advocates anchoring a social progress clause in EU primary law , calls for the standardization of the assessment base for corporate taxes and an EU-wide minimum tax rate for corporate profits. The independence of the European Central Bank is to be given up for the purpose of democratic control in order to be able to work for employment and sustainable development in addition to price stability.

The left is voting against the European Fiscal Compact and the European Stability Mechanism and is calling for a referendum. The former parliamentary group leader Gregor Gysi justified this inter alia. so that with the ESM "the most important economic policy instruments (...) that are necessary to maintain welfare state guarantees" are in danger.

However, the Left advocates Eurobonds in which the member states are mutually liable for one another.

Foreign policy

On February 26, 2010, around 50 of 76 members of the left-wing parliamentary group in the German Bundestag demonstrated against the use of the Bundeswehr in Afghanistan , which is why they were excluded from the further course of the meeting by Bundestag President Norbert Lammert for violating the rules of the rules of procedure.

The Left addresses four areas in the field of foreign policy: defense policy, world economic policy, democratization of the UN and the European Union .

The party calls for a policy of disarmament . The party aims to achieve stability and peaceful cooperation through social justice , the realization of human rights , sustainable development and democracy . Foreign missions by the Bundeswehr are generally rejected. The party calls for NATO to be dissolved, replaced by a collective security system with Russia's participation , and German foreign policy to be strictly geared towards civil conflict resolution and cooperation rather than confrontation.

The left calls for comprehensive debt relief for poor countries and an increase in development aid . To this end, the party wants to exert appropriate influence in the United Nations, the WTO and the World Bank as well as through bilateral treaties and European agreements with Latin America, Africa and Asia.

The UN should be democratized and strengthened by upgrading the General Assembly and restructuring the Security Council . The aim is to be able to shape a fairer world economic and social order. In addition, Die Linke advocates that abductions , secret prisons and torture are outlawed worldwide beyond the previous agreements .

The solidarity of the party towards “progressive movements” in Latin America finds, according to the decision of the federal committee of the party of September 21, 2008 “its concrete expression in particular in the continuation of the political and material solidarity campaigns of the AG Cuba Sí ”.

The left-wing faction advocates lifting the ban on the Socialist Workers' Party of Kurdistan (PKK).

Attitude towards Israel

The Left Party recognizes Israel's right to exist . However, individual members of the Bundestag parliamentary group and parts of the party base are vehemently criticizing Israel's Palestine policy. The political scientist Samuel Salzborn and the historian Sebastian Voigt described anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic tendencies in the party in an essay in 2011 . The article first published in the Frankfurter Rundschau appeared later, somewhat revised, in the Zeitschrift für Politik . The essay was the occasion of a current hour requested by the CDU / CSU and FDP in the Bundestag. Some members of the party leadership were critical of the tendencies described, others denied them.

The sociologist Peter Ullrich and the political scientist Alban Werner (the latter is a member of the Left Party) criticized in a reply in the same magazine that the authors had failed to prove radical hostility towards Israel or anti - Zionist anti - Semitism. In many respects, the article does not meet the fundamental scientific criteria and is methodologically inadequate, inconsistent and does not discuss possible ways of interpreting the material presented. On the basis of an online survey, Maximilian Elias Imhoff Ullrich and Werner disagreed: Around 30 percent of the radical left questioned were not free from anti-Semitic ideas or could not clearly distinguish themselves from anti-Semitic resentment.

Due to the “ toilet affair ”, there was another public debate in 2014 about the party's attitude towards the State of Israel, which also led to an internal dispute. In particular, the members of the Bundestag Annette Groth , Inge Höger and Heike Hänsel came under fire.

Family policy

In the area of ​​family policy, Die Linke particularly addresses gender equality. To this end, it is striving for an additional equality law for the private sector. Special programs to promote women are also to be introduced. The left criticizes the unequal pay for the work of both sexes. The reconciliation of family and work is to be improved through the expansion of all-day facilities.

Section 218 of the Criminal Code , which only allows termination of pregnancy under certain conditions, is to be abolished and abortion to be completely legalized. The “ morning-after pill ” should be accessible more quickly by abolishing the prescription requirement. The non-punishment of (foreign) abortion against the will of the pregnant woman, also regulated in Section 218 of the Criminal Code, is not politically linked to this demand. Violence against women should be publicly outlawed and resolutely prosecuted.

The Left wants to make it easier for couples to raise children - regardless of the relationship in which they live together. She welcomed the opening of marriage to same-sex couples . In addition, further steps are called for to ensure the equality of all ways of life: The party calls for a system of elective affinities, in which communities of more than two people are recognized as connected with one another. Die Linke wants to guarantee such communities similar rights as for married couples, including the right to visit in case of illness, the right to adopt and the right to refuse to testify .

The splitting of spouses is to be abolished.

The party speaks out against the care allowance and justifies its position, among other things, by the fact that this social benefit favors mothers - in accordance with the traditional ("outdated") family image - instead of starting work and staying at home and children in their educational and development opportunities are limited due to the lack of early social contacts. A basic child benefit is intended to replace the childcare allowance in order to enable children to grow up without financial insecurity.

Network policy

In the position paper Digital Democracy instead of Rule of the Monopolies at the end of 2019, left-wing politicians Katja Kipping , Anke Domscheit-Berg and Katalin Gennburg formulated the interests pursued by the digital economy that run counter to the ideals of democracy . The term is intended to indicate the ongoing power of digital monopolies and to expand the discussion to include a democratic and social component.

The position paper on digital democracy instead of rule by monopolies proposes a New Deal that aims to:

  • Creating order through digital regulatory law,
  • fair taxation of internet companies,
  • Create data sovereignty (digital freedom),
  • Allow data migration between different providers,
  • Formation of a social innovation fund for alternatives to the monopolists.

Research and education policy, press

The party wants to implement equal opportunities by providing the state with free education from day-care centers to studying. In addition, she wants to achieve “free all-day care in daycare and school, including a wholesome, healthy lunch”.

The left wants to bring pre-school education to the fore, make its importance clear and promote it in a special way. The subsequent joint school visit is to be extended. To this end, the party wants to create an integrative comprehensive school that covers school years one to at least nine. Furthermore, the party formulates the goal of moving the individual advancement of each individual into the center.

In the field of training, the party calls for a basic right to a training place for every school leaver.

The universities are to be democratized by suppressing profit-oriented influence , expanding public funding and introducing tripartite self-administration. In addition, access to all degrees is to remain free, and the transition from vocational training to universities is to be made easier. Tuition fees are strictly rejected.

The basic research should be strengthened. Die Linke advocates a balanced relationship between theoretical and application-oriented research and teaching, the dismantling of hierarchical structures and greater independence for mid-level academic staff . Patents on the genes of living beings or parts of living beings, especially humans, are rejected. The open access and open source movement is popular with the Left.

In addition, the lack of funding for further training is criticized. The aim is a federal training law.

It wants to prevent monopoly in the media sector through stricter antitrust legislation and in this way preserve freedom of the press and diversity of the press. The rights of authors vis-à-vis the collecting companies are to be strengthened; At the same time, a balance should be found so that non-commercial use is restricted as little as possible.

Promotion of the new federal states

The party is planning an all-German innovation, investment and structural policy in order to reduce the differences between the old and new federal states.

The left emphasizes advantages in the real socialist system of the GDR. She sees childcare , the school and education system , the economic equality of women with men and local cultural institutions in the former GDR as exemplary and contradicts the general and uncritical adoption of corresponding structures in the Federal Republic of Germany.

Specifically, Die Linke pursues the following goals:

  • "Equal pay for equal work"
  • Livable framework conditions in the east in the areas of education, culture, leisure and child care.
  • Concentration on the economic sectors that are important in the regions through specific regional development concepts; cooperative integration of growth centers (structurally weak, rural and peripheral areas).
  • Promotion of future industries and companies, planning security for the disposal of funds from the EU, the federal budget and the solidarity pact ; Co-finance subsidies for financially weak countries only minimally.

Inner structure

organization structure

The party is organized in regional associations in the federal states . The 16 regional associations are assigned the district associations of their federal state. Below the state level, there are regional associations, primarily in eastern Germany , which are called district, regional or district associations. They usually include one or more rural districts , a larger city or, in Berlin, districts. The lowest unit of the party is the grassroots organization, which, depending on the membership density, can encompass a residential area, a city or an entire district. In addition to these regional associations, there are thematic associations ( working groups , interest groups and commissions ) at the federal level and in some cases at the state and district level .

The highest body of the party Die Linke at the federal level is the federal party congress . These party congresses are not numbered consecutively, as is usual in the other major federal parties, but rather according to their electoral period. The 2nd party congress had two meetings in 2010 and 2011: the “2nd Party Congress, 1st Conference ", the so-called Rostock Party Congress 2010 and the" 2nd Party Congress " Party Congress, 2nd Conference ", the so-called Erfurt Party Congress 2011.

Between the sessions of the party congress, the party executive, whose members are elected by the party congress, is the highest body. The Federal Committee performs a control function vis-à-vis the Board of Directors, advises and mediates in the event of serious programmatic differences within the Board of Directors and between different party branches. He has the right of initiative and intervention in fundamental decisions.

Party executive

Janine Wissler (l.) And Susanne Hennig-Wellsow (r.) At the digital party conference (2021)

According to the statutes, the party executive committee consists of 44 members. At the 7th party conference, which was only held digitally due to the corona pandemic , Janine Wissler and Susanne Hennig-Wellsow were elected as successors to Katja Kipping and Bernd Riexinger on February 27, 2021 . The executive board usually includes twelve people: the two party chairmen, their four deputies, the federal manager, the federal treasurer and four other members.

The elected members from 2021 onwards are:

Chairperson Susanne Hennig-Wellsow , Janine Wissler
vice-chairman Ali Al-Dailami , Ates Gürpinar , Tobias Pflüger , Martina Renner , Katina Schubert , Jana Seppelt
Federal Managing Director Jörg Schindler
Federal Treasurer Harald Wolf
Assessor Jan van Aken , Didem Aydurmus , Tobias Bank , Maximilian Becker , Antje Behler , Friederike Benda , Lorenz Gösta Beutin , Janis Ehling , Kerstin Eisenreich , Kenja Felger , Wulf Gallert , Margit Glasow , Thies Gleiss , Konstantin Gräfe , Bettina Gutperl , Stefan Hartmann , Kerstin Köditz , Johannes König , Katrin Lompscher , Simone Luedtke , Niema Movassat , Jan Richter , Martin Schirdewan , Julia Schramm , Ilja Seifert , Sabine Skubsch , Michaele Sojka , Maja Tegeler , Frank Tempel , Axel Troost , Birgül Tut , Daphne Weber , Melanie Wery -Sims, Raul Zelik

Council of Elders

Hans Modrow (2018)

On December 12, 2007, a council of elders was constituted within the party Die Linke, which is to serve as a consultative body. According to Lothar Bisky, it should deal with questions about the development of the party, alliance and international issues, the history of the left and possible consequences for the socialist program.

Composition of the Council of Elders (as of October 2018):

Chairman Hans Modrow (* 1928), graduate social scientist, graduate economist, Berlin
vice-chairman Christina Emmrich ; Wolfgang Grabowski ; Ursula Schumm-Garling , sociologist and professor emeritus
Other members Gretchen Binus , economist, economic historian, Berlin; Edeltraut Felfe , qualified lawyer, Greifswald; Friederunn Fessen , teacher; Johanna Klages ; Evelin Nowitzki ; Bärbel Schindler-Saefkow (* 1943), historian Berlin; Anni Seidl ; Sybille tribe ; Joachim Bischoff (* 1944), sociologist, publicist and politician; Wolfgang Gehrcke (* 1943); Heiner Halberstadt (1928–2021), freelance journalist, Frankfurt am Main; Dieter Hooge (* 1943), trade unionist and politician; Hermann Klenner (* 1926), lawyer, Berlin; Bruno Mahlow (* 1937), graduate state scientist, Berlin; Ulrich Maurer (* 1948); Gregor Schirmer (* 1932), lawyer, Berlin

International Commission

The International Commission (IC) is an advisory body to the party executive and party leaders. Its members are appointed by the same and it prepares proposals for international politics. In addition, she coordinates the party's international work, prepares decisions and positions for the party executive committee, and reports on them regularly to the party executive committee. In the IC, political initiatives for the European left are developed and discussed.

Heinz Bierbaum is chairman of the international commission.

Members and regional associations

The Left has formed regional associations in all federal states .

Regional association Chair / Spokesperson Members
(as of December 31, 2020)
Proportion of women Result of the 2017 federal election
Baden-Wuerttemberg Baden-Wuerttemberg Dirk Spöri
Sahra Mirow
3,881 26.97% 06.4%
Bavaria Bavaria Kathrin Flach-Gomez
Ates Gürpinar
3,291 28.32% 06.1%
Berlin Berlin Katina Schubert 7,611 42.04% 18.8%
Brandenburg Brandenburg Anja Mayer
Katharina Slanina
5,229 43.57% 17.2%
Bremen Bremen Cornelia Barth
Felix Pithan
0.689 30.91% 13.5%
Hamburg Hamburg Olga Fritzsche
David Stoop
1,800 32.66% 12.2%
Hesse Hesse Petra Heimer
Jan Schalauske
3,337 28.86% 08.1%
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Wenke Brüdgam
Torsten Koplin
3,222 43.53% 17.8%
Lower Saxony Lower Saxony Heidi Reichinnek
Lars Leopold
3.141 27.23% 06.9%
North Rhine-Westphalia North Rhine-Westphalia Nina Eumann
Christian Leye
8,830 29.99% 07.5%
Rhineland-Palatinate Rhineland-Palatinate Jochen Bülow
Katrin Werner
1,756 29.86% 06.8%
Saarland Saarland Thomas Lutze 1,693 34.04% 12.9%
Saxony Saxony Susanne Schaper
Stefan Hartmann
7,416 42.80% 16.1%
Saxony-Anhalt Saxony-Anhalt Stefan Gebhardt 3,192 41.94% 17.8%
Schleswig-Holstein Schleswig-Holstein Marianne Kolter
Hanno Knierim
1,206 32.50% 07.3%
Thuringia Thuringia Susanne Hennig-Wellsow 4,046 42.26% 16.9%
Development of membership numbers

The largest regional association is that of North Rhine-Westphalia.

On December 31, 2006, the PDS and WASG, from which Die Linke emerged, had a total of 69,282 members, including around 11,500 of the WASG. From 2007 to 2009 the number of members increased due to new entrants in the old federal states, from 2009 to 2011 the number of members fell again from 78,000 to 70,000 and a further decline was forecast. Between June 2011 and June 2012, over 4,300 members left the party. 70% of the members of the Linkspartei.PDS were over 60 years old when they merged with the WASG, only 3.3% under 30 years old.

In 1997, 98% of the members of the PDS were already members of the SED or its youth organization FDJ ; later this percentage sank due to the merger with the WASG and the retirement of former members due to age. Due to the larger proportion of the PDS, 58% of the members came from East Germany in 2009. The party’s previous anchoring in eastern Germany has been put into perspective, however, with more members registered in western than in eastern Germany in 2017.

In 2016, membership remained roughly constant after years of decline. A 'Trump effect' in the second half of 2016 was described as the cause of this. In 2017 the number of members increased again significantly, especially young people from urban regions are joining. Two thirds of the new members are 35 years old or younger.

With almost 38% of the members, Die Linke together with Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen had the highest proportion of women of all parties represented in the Bundestag in 2012. In the 17th German Bundestag (from 2009) Die Linke, with 52.6% women, is behind Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen with 57.4%. In the 18th German Bundestag (from 2013) Die Linke is represented by 35 female MPs, which corresponds to a proportion of women of 54.7%. The Left Party is the parliamentary group with the highest percentage of women in the electoral term. In the 19th German Bundestag (from 2017), Die Linke is back behind Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen with 58% and 39 female MPs in terms of women, with 54% and 37 women , making it the parliamentary group with the second highest proportion of women.

According to regular studies by Freie Universität Berlin (FUB) on the social composition of German parties, Die Linke is home to around 19% workers, 32% salaried employees, 34% civil servants and employees in the public sector, and over 16% self-employed (as of 2017). Over 46% of party members have a university degree, 68% are not organized in trade unions. According to the research group Weltanschauungen in Germany, "people with higher education and civil servants / employees in the public service are more represented in the party than in the general population."

Currents and wings

Within the party Die Linke, different associations have come together with different degrees of organization. Some of them are considered to be more orthodox left, others are more reform-oriented.

Communist platform

The Communist Platform (KPF) advocates that communist positions remain anchored in the party and wants the preservation and further development of Marxist positions within the Left Party. A “strategic goal” of the KPF is the “establishment of a new socialist society that uses the positive experiences of real socialism and draws lessons from the mistakes made”.

The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution calls the KPF, which is “in the Marxist-Leninist tradition” and currently has more than 1200 members, as the “open extremist association with the largest number of members” within the party.

Matthias Bärwolff is a member of the platform . The membership of the former parliamentary group leader in the Bundestag, Sahra Wagenknecht, has been suspended since February 2010.

Anti-capitalist left

The Anti-Capitalist Left (AKL) takes the position of making government participation dependent on minimum programmatic conditions, such as no privatizations , no war operations or no social cuts .

She belongs to the left wing and advocates strengthening the party's anti-capitalist profile. The AKL calls for a “break with capitalist property structures” and emphasizes the need for cooperation with the extra-parliamentary opposition ; It sees itself as a bridge between the party Die Linke and the extra-parliamentary movements.

Membership is open to non-party members as well as members of the party. The AKL unites leftists of different traditions in its ranks: socialists and communists who have a rather positive image of “real existing socialism”, Trotskyists who are critical of it, anarchists and undogmatic.

The AKL sees the GDR much more negatively than, for example, the Communist Platform and criticizes, among other things. the ruling Stalinist bureaucracy there .

The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution classifies the anti-capitalist left as an “openly extremist” alliance within the party. According to the 2018 report on the protection of the constitution, the AKL has 1,011 members - and the number is rising.

Prominent representatives of this wing are the deputy party chairman Tobias Pflüger and the members of the Bundestag Lucy Redler , Ulla Jelpke and Sylvia Gabelmann .

Socialist left

The Socialist Left (SL) represents left Keynesian and reform communist positions. The union-oriented current strives for a modern socialist membership party based on the model of the SP of the Netherlands or the Italian PRC . The founding members of the Socialist Left came predominantly from the environment of the WASG or the trade unions. Marx21 is organized within the SL because it does not meet the requirements for recognition.

The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution observes the SL and justifies this, among other things. with the engagement of Trotskyist forces from the marx21 network . According to the 2018 report on the protection of the constitution, the SL has 836 members.

Well-known representatives of this trend are Ralf Krämer , Janine Wissler , Michael Schlecht , Thomas Handel , Jürgen Klute and Christine Buchholz .

Movement left

The Bewegungslinke was founded in 2018 by Nicole Gohlke and Raul Zelik , among others . The members want to combine traditional employee interests with identity-political measures through a “unifying class policy” . In the 2020 board elections, this association gained greater influence, as 20 candidates supported by the left- wing movement were elected to the board with a total of 44 members. In 2020 the movement left had 700 members, many of them younger and active in social movements.

Emancipatory left

The Emancipatory Left (Ema.Li) emerged in the PDS and was formally constituted on May 23, 2009 as a movement within the party. Today it occupies an intermediary position between orthodox and reform-oriented forces. In contrast to the other currents, double memberships are expressly permitted.

The emancipatory left represents socially liberal , radical democratic and emancipatory standpoints. Freedom and socialism are therefore not a contradiction, but are mutually dependent. Compared to the other currents, the emancipatory left is discussing the conditions of a changed world of work, for example with approaches such as the unconditional basic income . The union has regional associations in Bavaria, Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hesse, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt. The Ema.Li is headed by a six-person coordination group. Prominent representatives of the trend are, for example, Katja Kipping , Christoph Spehr , Anne Helm and Caren Lay .

Forum for Democratic Socialism

The Forum for Democratic Socialism (fds) primarily reflects the opinions that were widespread in the PDS. The current would like to see the party continue to work in governments and through reforms in society. In addition, the achievements of the PDS should also be preserved in the new left, including the quota for women and a strong focus on the preservation and expansion of civil rights . The national spokesperson for the forum is Luise Neuhaus-Wartenberg .

Reform left network

The Reformlinke network represents reform-oriented approaches and strives for government coalitions to implement them. Examples in which the reform left were able to prevail were the government participations in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Berlin. Internally, they are particularly controversial among former WASG members. The policy of the reform left was cited as a reason for the WASG Berlin's entry into the 2006 parliamentary elections with a competing list. Prominent representatives are Petra Pau , Wulf Gallert , Jan Korte , Stefan Liebich and Halina Wawzyniak . The activity of the network has been severely restricted in favor of the Forum for Democratic Socialism. The Reform Left network is not a recognized association within the party and does not see itself as a current.

Ecological platform

The ecological platform is committed to further strengthening ecological standpoints. The party's environmental and agricultural policy positions largely correspond to its proposals. It seeks exchange with other environmental groups and is expressly open to non-party members. The Ecological Platform represents positions critical of capitalism and growth and is of the conviction that "a considerable amount of waste of resources and energy is in no way intended to improve our quality of life, but is simply due to the idling of the capitalist growth machine."

The ecological platform publishes tarantel every quarter . In addition, special issues have been published regularly since 2005 under the label Contributions to Environmental Policy .

Marxist forum

The Marxist Forum (MF) is based on classical Marxism . According to its own statements, the MF pursues the goal of making a contribution to the theoretical profiling of the politics of the party Die Linke. It sees its task in "continuing to insist on an in-depth Marxist analysis of this society and to criticize the party without interfering in details." The MF was founded on June 6, 1995 in what was then the PDS .

The Marxist Forum paints a rather positive picture of "real existing socialism" and praises the "structural anti-fascism in the GDR". Speakers for the MF are or were Uwe Hiksch , Klaus Höpcke and Kurt Pätzold . According to the 2018 report on the Protection of the Constitution, the MF has around 400 members.

Geraer Dialog / Socialist Dialog

The Gera Dialogue / Socialist Dialogue (GD / SD) was founded on February 1, 2003 as a reaction to the fact that reform-oriented forces within the PDS increasingly gained influence. The GD / SD feared turning away from Marxist positions and turning to the social market economy .

The Geraer Dialog / Socialist Dialogue describes itself as a "not insignificant part of the Marxist-communist-socialist currents and platforms" within the party. However, it has increasingly lost its influence and is now one of the smaller intra-party alliances. The GD / SL is observed by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution as one of the “openly extremist” groups.

Nationwide associations

In addition, the nationwide associations play a strong role within the Left. Often they have existed since the 1990s and therefore often bear the title Federal Working Group, which was then used in the PDS. In accordance with the federal statutes, intra-party alliances can be formed freely by the members, but are not part of the party. They influence the party's internal opinion-forming process and receive funding for their work within the framework of the financial plan. Depending on their size and the demands of other nationwide associations, they can send their own delegates to party conferences. They either deal specifically with a political topic (e.g. Cuba Sí , AG Betrieb & Union , BAG Basic Income, BAG Animal Welfare, BAG Climate Justice, BAG Antifascism and BAG Education Policy) or organize experts within the party (such as BAG Rote Reporter / inside , in which related journalists and public relations workers gather), BAG Urban Development and Housing Policy or the BAG Self-determined Disability Policy. However, some rights that the working groups fought for within the party in 1989/90 have been severely curtailed by the new statutes. There have recently been multiple hurdles to being recognized as an AG and receiving mandates.

Party-affiliated organizations

The "party-affiliated organizations" include the youth association Linksjugend ['solid] , the student association Die Linke.SDS , the foundation association of the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung and 16 nationwide affiliated associations, some of which have their own name, the former WASG-affiliated education community SALZ , local political education associations in several federal states - most of which bear the name of the Municipal Political Forum , the party-affiliated employers ' association OWUS , the WASG predecessor organization WAsG e. V. and the Jugendbildungswerk e. V. The Freieträger Roter Baum e. V. is not organizationally connected to the party; analogous to the falcons in the SPD, it is close to the values ​​of democratic socialism and is linked through close personal ties.



The party's assets consist of those of the former WASG and PDS as well as the growth since the merger. According to the 2007 annual report, it comprised around 23 million euros. The real estate is valued at around five million euros. The party's corporate holdings have a total value of less than two million euros. According to various procedures for PDS assets, the following companies belong to the party assets:

  • Hotel am Wald (Elgersburg) GmbH
  • Vulkan GmbH (company investments and properties, including the Karl-Liebknecht-Haus in Berlin)
  • FEVAC GmbH (company investments )
  • BärenDruck media service (pro rata; printing / advertising service)
  • Neues Deutschland (pro rata; daily newspaper; holds 51% of MVVG Medien-, Versand- und Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH and minority shares in nine other press sales companies. It owns 90% of the subsidiary Grundstücksgesellschaft Franz-Mehring-Platz 1 GmbH )

The party does not raise any claims on assets from the GDR era that were not legally created, as the PDS had already notarized them. As far as SED assets are still found today, the Federal Republic is entitled to them.

Income and expenditure

Income in 2017 EUR proportion of
State funds 12,200,789.91 38.62%
Membership fees 10,042,387.31 31.78%
Mandate holder contributions and similar regular contributions 04,843,785.49 15.33%
Donations from natural persons 02,682,994.15 08.49%
Events, distribution of pamphlets and publications and other income-related activities 00.264,346.65 00.84%
Donations from legal entities 00.003,420.00 00.01%
Income from other property 00.034,863.87 00.11%
Other revenue 01,422,640.81 04.50%
Income from business activities and investments 00.100,000.00 00.32%
total ≈ 31,595,228 100%

Die Linke earns around 32% of its income from contributions from its members, mandate holders make up around 15% of the party's income. The party receives around 9% of its income from donations, with only an insignificant fraction coming from companies and other non-natural persons. According to her own statement, she does not accept party donations from companies in order to guarantee her independence and incorruptibility. About 39% of the party's income comes from state party funding . The remaining 5% comes from other income, such as income from events or the sale of printed matter. With the parties CDU, CSU and FDP, proportionally more funds flow through party donations from companies (legal entities).

7,600 of the current 67,000 members do not pay any fees; the contribution regulations expressly provide for the possibility of exemption from contributions in justified cases of hardship.

Around a third of the Left Party's expenditure is personnel costs .

State funding of subsidiary organizations

According to the current legal situation, the Left is entitled to state aid for its local political forums, its federal and state foundations and its youth association at the federal level and in several federal states. The youth association's application for admission to the ring of political youth was last rejected in December 2007 due to the veto of the Junge Union , which raised doubts about the association's loyalty to the constitution. As a result, the youth association does not receive any government grants. The youth association has brought an action against this before the administrative court. According to a comparison made in July 2013 between Left Youth ['solid] and the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, from 2014 the youth association will be treated in the same way as the other party youth organizations when allocating funds.

Political classification

Observation by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution and discussion of extremism

As early as 2006, in the run-up to the party merger with the “non-extremist WASG ”, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution saw indications of anti-constitutional efforts by the PDS at the time . A continuation of the observation was ordered in May 2008 by the Federal Minister of the Interior, Wolfgang Schäuble . In 2009, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution came to the conclusion that the party was “on the one hand relying on its public appearance to be perceived as a reform-oriented, new left force. On the other hand, there are still numerous indicators of left-wing extremist efforts within the party. ”In particular, reference was made to the“ inconsistent attitude towards left-wing extremist violence and the full acceptance of openly extremist associations in their ranks ”. The Federal Ministry of the Interior named the working group Cuba Sí , the Communist Platform , the Marxist Forum , the Socialist Left and the Gera Dialogue as “openly extremist alliances of the party”.

The interior ministers of several federal states also had Die Linke monitored by their constitutional protection authorities . In January 2008 , the Saarland Ministry of the Interior announced that it was the first of the West German states to cease monitoring the party as a whole. Overall, however, the authorities continued to disagree about monitoring the party. In the eastern German states, the state offices refrained from general observation; only the communist platform was observed in three eastern German states.

A report by the news magazine Der Spiegel at the beginning of 2012 revealed that the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution had personal files on 27 members of the Bundestag and thus more than a third of the members of the left-wing parliamentary group . These included the then parliamentary group chairman Gregor Gysi , his deputy Sahra Wagenknecht , the members of the parliamentary group chairman Dietmar Bartsch and Jan Korte , the parliamentary manager Dagmar Enkelmann , the federal chairwoman Gesine Lötzsch and her deputy Halina Wawzyniak as well as the Bundestag Vice- President Petra Pau- President . The gathering of information about MPs was then criticized by politicians from the SPD, Greens and FDP.

The Federal Constitutional Court ruled on October 9, 2013 that the observation of MP Bodo Ramelow was unconstitutional. Previously, in a judgment of July 21, 2010 , the Federal Administrative Court had assessed the observation of Ramelow by means of openly accessible sources as still compliant with the law.

In March 2014, the then Federal Minister of the Interior, Thomas de Maizière , announced that members of the Bundestag of the Left Party would no longer be observed by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. "The observation of members of the Bundestag faction Die Linke by the Federal Office" was "discontinued for reasons of prioritizing observation and with a view to their special status as elected officials." This waiver also includes those MPs who "have outstanding functions in the openly extremist alliances observed ". The relevant alliances within the party would, however, continue to be monitored.

The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution is no longer observing the party as a whole, but is restricting itself to “openly extremist structures” in the party such as Cuba Si or the Communist Platform . "In total, more than 3,000 people belong to these associations who try to influence the formation of political opinion in the DIE LINKE party in line with the extremist program".

Even political scientist concerned with the question whether the party Die Linke as a left-wing extremism should be considered. It is undisputed that at least individual subdivisions of the party are extremist. Richard Stöss assumes, however, that they make up less than 10 percent of the members of the party as a whole, that they compete for resources and that they do not have a foreseeable dominant influence on the leadership and orientation of the party as a whole, which makes observation of the party by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution appear questionable . For Christoph Egle  , too , Die Linke as a whole is not a “typical anti-system party” because it does not actually have “any system-endangering effect”. Eckhard Jesse , on the other hand, sums up that the party Die Linke is much closer to the legal system of the Basic Law than the NPD, for example, but because of its inner-party extremist groups it is a representative of “soft left-wing extremism”.

Left populism

Cas Mudde (2008) described the party as left-wing populist . Tilman Mayer (2008) classified the left as leftist or social populist. For Florian Hartleb (2011), too, the left acts in a social-populist way. According to Frank Decker (2015), the party could be described as left-wing populist during Lafontaine's term of office (until 2009). Thorsten Holzhauser (2021) describes the group around Sahra Wagenknecht as the populist wing of the party. The populist character of the party as a whole, on the other hand, declined significantly after Oskar Lafontaine's withdrawal.

As the party vice-president, Katja Kipping called for a strategy in 2011 in which left-wing populism aimed at the socially excluded should be an integral part.


The Left emerged from the amalgamation of the PDS, which functioned as the communist state party of the German Democratic Republic until 1989 under the name Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) , and the WASG , which SPD members and trade unionists who were critical of the government initially founded as an association in 2004.

History of the PDS part

Transitional logo of the PDS before the merger

PDS (2005-2007)

The PDS emerged from the Socialist Unity Party of Germany, which in turn was founded in 1946 in the course of the forced unification of the SPD and KPD in the Soviet occupation zone and Berlin. From 1949 to 1989 the SED was the ruling state party in the GDR. During the turning point in 1989/90, the party first renamed itself SED-PDS , on February 4, 1990 - after the resignation of over two thirds of its members, extensive exchange of top staff and programmatic change - then into the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS). On July 17, 2005, the name was changed to Linkspartei.PDS.

First chairman of the PDS was Gregor Gysi . In the first free Volkskammer election in the GDR on March 18, 1990, it reached 16.4%. In the first all-German federal election in 1990 it came to 2.4%. Since east and west had formed separate electoral areas and the five percent hurdle was overcome with 11% in the east , the PDS was initially represented by 17 MPs. She won an East Berlin constituency directly. In the state elections in the new federal states of Thuringia , Saxony , Saxony-Anhalt , Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, as well as in Berlin , it was also successful with around 10 to 15% each. In 1993 Lothar Bisky replaced Gysi as chairman. In the 1994 federal election , the party was able to increase its result to 4.4%. Since she won four direct mandates in East Berlin , she again moved into the Bundestag with 30 members this time. In the eastern German federal states, the PDS increasingly developed into a people's party and from the mid-1990s onwards mostly achieved election results of over 20%. At the turn of the millennium, it was sometimes the second strongest party there.

In the 1998 Bundestag election , the party overcame the five percent hurdle for the first time with 5.1% and was able to claim parliamentary group status in the Bundestag. Bisky resigned from the Federal Presidency in 2000; Gabi Zimmer became his successor . In the east it has meanwhile become a people's party, the support of the PDS in the west was still low; There she did not get beyond respectable successes, although she was able to win over former SPD voters in isolated cases. Having in the 2002 elections had failed at 4.0% at the hurdle and two tending to PDS electoral districts in East Berlin districts in West Berlin merged had she only been active with two directly elected members. In 2003 Gabi Zimmer resigned in the course of a serious internal party crisis - triggered by the failure to move in in 2002 - and Bisky became chairman again. In the super election year 2004, there was a consolidation. In the course of the protests against Agenda 2010 and especially the Hartz reforms , the PDS achieved its best election results since the end of the GDR.

History of the SED in the culture of remembrance of the left

The house was initially owned by the KPD (seat of the Central Committee), later owned by the SED . Today it is the party headquarters of the Left Party

The history and the past of these two parties and their predecessor organizations up to their merger is part of the history of the party Die Linke. The political roots reach beyond the SED, PDS and SPD to the KPD , VKPD , USPD , Spartakusbund , SDAP , ADAV and the German labor movement .

From a legal point of view, the SED, PDS, Left Party and Die Linke are the same legal person . Because of the clear political, programmatic and personal differences, the term “successor party” is sometimes used. The Left sees itself as the “ legal successor of the SED” and deals with the history and the resulting inquiries and allegations. Similar to the PDS, a historical commission was also set up in the Die Linke party . In addition to the general history of the labor movement, the trade unions, social democracy and communism, the focus is on the history of the GDR and the SED. Members include the historian and GDR oppositionist Thomas Klein , the historian Mario Keßler , both from the Center for Contemporary Research in Potsdam, the economic historian Jörg Roesler and the member of the Bundestag and historian Jan Korte .

Parts of the public accuse the left of tolerating former employees of the Ministry for State Security (MfS) in higher offices. Former MfS employees sat and sit for the PDS and Die Linke in parliaments from local to federal levels.

There are allegations of MfS activity against high-ranking members of the party, such as the former party chairman Bisky or the parliamentary group chairman in the Bundestag Gysi, which, however, could not be legally proven. The left-wing MP Lutz Heilmann was also the first full-time employee of the Ministry for State Security in the Bundestag. In 2009 in Brandenburg only after the state elections through media reports did the MfS activities of three state parliament members of the left become known. The number of former MfS employees in the parliamentary group increased to seven, and the MfS activities of four other left-wing MPs were already known before the election. This led to discussions about the continuation of the red-red state government.

As early as the early 1990s, the PDS debated how to deal with former employees of the MfS. After the former Berlin party chairman Wolfram Adolphi was revealed , a Berlin state party congress accepted a motion entitled “For a consistent, open and public discussion of the issue of state security”. This stipulated that party members who had worked with the MfS had to disclose this activity before assuming a party office or a mandate in popular representative bodies. In the event that a member did not comply, the exclusion from the parliamentary group was provided. The federal party later adopted the Berlin decision. After problems with the implementation and discussions in the party, the next party congress relaxed the regulation. Since then, an undisclosed MfS activity is no longer automatically excluded from the electoral committee. Instead, a party committee, such as a party congress or board, decides on further steps. For example, after his work for the MfS, Lutz Heilmann barely survived a vote of confidence in his regional association and was not excluded from the parliamentary group. In Brandenburg, the former employees of the MfS, who had not announced this before the election, were asked to waive their mandate. The MPs concerned complied with this request or were otherwise expelled from the group.

The founding of the German Democratic Republic is seen as a legitimate attempt “ to prevent the re-strengthening of the social driving forces of National Socialism after the Allied victory over Nazi Germany ” and to “ build a socialist state on German soil”, although the attempt is described as having failed. The failure is justified with internal reasons such as the lack of democracy , disregard for civil rights and a deficient economic system, as well as external reasons such as the bloc confrontation and the Cold War .

Dealing with the history of the GDR and with the history of one's own party sometimes ignites conflicts within the party as well as conflicts with third parties. The designation of the GDR as an injustice state is highly controversial within the party and is rejected by the party leadership. The Thuringian state association, however, accepted the name in the coalition negotiations with the SPD and the Greens.

History of the WASG part

In protest against Agenda 2010 , decided by the SPD under Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder in 2003, the 2006 election alternative was formed independently in northern Germany under the economist Axel Troost and in southern Germany the initiative work and social justice around the union functionary Klaus Ernst , who until then Was a member of the SPD. In July of the same year, the two organizations merged to form the electoral alternative work and social justice (WASG).

In January 2005, the party Work & Social Justice - Die Wahlalternative (ASG) emerged from the association. Since the abbreviation ASG was already taken, the newly founded party had to change its abbreviation to WASG. In May she ran for the state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia . There she unexpectedly achieved a respectable success with 2.2%.

A few days later, Oskar Lafontaine resigned from the SPD after he had become increasingly estranged from the party since his resignation as Federal Finance Minister in March 1999. Lafontaine, who had already expressed his sympathy for the WASG, brought an alliance between the PDS and the WASG into consideration for the early federal election, which finally came about two months later.

Merger Process (2005-2007)

Transitional logo of the WASG before the merger
Election poster from Die Linke.PDS with the top candidates Oskar Lafontaine and Gregor Gysi on the occasion of the federal election campaign in 2005.

Before the merger, the PDS was more anchored in East Germany . The process of forming an all-German left-wing party began in 2004 when members of the SPD and trade unionists who were critical of the government first founded the more West German -influenced association Wahlalternative Arbeit und Sozial Justice , which was converted into the WASG party in January 2005.

In June the PDS and WASG agreed not to compete in the 2005 Bundestag election . The later group leaders Gysi and Lafontaine were elected as top candidates.

In July the PDS changed its name to Linkspartei.PDS . In the election on September 18, 2005, the left-wing alliance received 8.7% of the vote, making it the fourth strongest force in the Bundestag. The elected founded a common parliamentary group in the Bundestag .

On June 16, 2007, the merger convention of the party Die Linke took place in Berlin. In the vote there on the founding of the party, one delegate voted against and two abstained.

In 2006, the WASG competed in the state elections in Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate, Berlin and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, but failed everywhere because of the five percent hurdle . In March 2007, the course for a merger was finally set at a double party conference of the Linkspartei.PDS and the WASG in Dortmund. 96.9% of the delegates of the Left Party and 87.7% of the WASG voted for the merger. In a subsequent ballot, 96.9% of the members of the Left Party and 83.9% of the WASG members voted in favor of the merger. On June 16, 2007, the previously independent WASG merged with the Linkspartei.PDS, with some internal party resistance to the procedure.

Election successes (2007-2010)

Helmuth Markov , Deputy Prime Minister in Brandenburg (2009 to 2014)

The party initially recorded a number of electoral successes. A month before the merger, the left-wing alliance in Bremen achieved 8.4% and became the fourth strongest party in the local population. From 2008 to 2010 - the only exception being the Bavarian state elections in 2008 - it overcame the five percent hurdle in every national election . In Hesse, after the state elections in 2008 , she agreed to tolerate a red-green minority government under Andrea Ypsilanti (SPD), since neither red-green nor black-yellow had achieved a majority through her move . Since Ypsilanti had ruled out any cooperation with the left during the election campaign, her turnaround was sharply criticized in the media in March of that year as a “breach of word”. In November this project finally failed because four SPD MPs refused to support this project for reasons of conscience. In the new elections in 2009 , the left played no role in the formation of a government, despite the fact that the left wing moved in again, as the CDU and FDP achieved a large majority.

The result in the 2009 European elections was rather mixed with 7.5%, which briefly caused confusion within the party. In Thuringia , the party, led by its top candidate Bodo Ramelow, achieved its best result to date in a state election with 27.4%, which put it comparatively just behind the CDU (31.2%). Initially, talks about a red-red-green coalition were held together with the SPD and B'90 / Greens , within which the left would have been the strongest party. However, the Thuringian SPD opted for a coalition with the CDU. In the state elections in Saarland , in which Lafontaine was the top candidate, the party achieved 21.3% and was only just behind the SPD as the third-strongest party. After everything in Saarland initially indicated a red-red-green alliance, the Greens, who tipped the scales in this election, preferred a Jamaica coalition with the CDU and FDP. In the Bundestag election in the same year, Die Linke increased to 11.9% and 76 seats. In the state election in Brandenburg , which took place at the same time as the federal election , the party with its top candidate Kerstin Kaiser was able to achieve its second-best state election result with 27.2%. In addition, the Brandenburg SPD entered into a government coalition with the left after the election. Furthermore, the party in Schleswig-Holstein reached the state parliament for the first time.

At the turn of the year 2009/2010, Lafontaine declared to withdraw from federal politics due to cancer. For this reason, he resigned his parliamentary mandate at the beginning of 2010 and resigned from party leadership in the middle of the year. Klaus Ernst and Gesine Lötzsch became the new chairmen . By moving into North Rhine-Westphalia , the SPD and the Greens just missed a majority in the local state parliament, which is why the latter agreed a loose cooperation in the state parliament with the left after coalition negotiations had previously failed.

Turbulence (2010-2012)

The change in the party leadership resulted in increasing turbulence within the party. Lötzsch got caught in the crossfire of criticism when she wrote an article on “Paths to Communism” in the daily newspaper Junge Welt at the beginning of 2011 . In the state elections in 2011, the results were mixed. While the election results were stabilized in Hamburg and Saxony-Anhalt and in the latter the position as the second strongest party was consolidated, in Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate it failed to make it into the respective state parliaments with around 3% each. In Bremen , despite a significant loss of votes, she also succeeded in defending parliament, although there had been quarrels in the regional association there in previous years, as a result of which two MPs had left the parliamentary group.

In August of the same year there was unrest in the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania regional association, as several members defended the construction of the wall , which was 50 years old. A little later, Lötzsch and Ernst made headlines when they wrote a letter with congratulations to the former Cuban head of state Fidel Castro on the occasion of his 85th birthday. Both processes were discussed very controversially within the party against the background of the state elections in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Berlin in the following month .

In the elections for the Berlin House of Representatives in September 2011, the red-red state government lost its majority there and the left was replaced as a junior partner by the CDU.

On May 6, 2012, the left lost 3.8% of the previous election in the state elections in Schleswig-Holstein and got 2.2% of the vote. This was the first time that the party was elected from a state parliament. A week later, Die Linke lost its presence in the state parliament in the most populous federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia when it slumped from 5.6% to just 2.5% of the votes.

Present (since May 2012)

Bodo Ramelow , Prime Minister of the Free State of Thuringia

After the failures in the West German state elections and internal wing battles, Ernst and Lötzsch did not run at the federal party conference in May 2012 (Lötzsch had previously resigned from their office for family reasons). The new federal board around the leadership duo Kipping / Riexinger tried to smooth out the internal party upheavals, which at least partially succeeded. In the state election in Lower Saxony on January 20, 2013 , she received only 3.1 percent (after 7.1% in the 2008 election); in the Bundestag election on September 22, 2013 , she received 8.6% of the second vote (minus 3.3 percentage points) and 64 of 631 Bundestag seats, one more than the Greens.
In the state elections in Hesse on the same day, she received 5.2 percent.

Shortly before the 2014 European elections, the two chairmen were re-elected at a party conference. The Hessian parliamentary group chairman Janine Wissler from marx21 and Tobias Pflüger from the AKL were also newly elected as deputy party chairmen; the new federal treasurer is Thomas Nord . Before and after the party congress, there were internal party discussions about the occupation of the offices.

The European elections on May 25, 2014 brought the left 7.4% of the vote and thus seven seats in the European Parliament. She received 0.1 percentage points less than in the 2009 European elections, almost the same; this put the left in fourth place behind the Union (CDU / CSU), the SPD and Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen. In the state elections in Saxony in summer 2014, they remained the second strongest force. The state elections in Brandenburg in 2014 confirmed the red-red state government in office despite losses for the left. After the Thuringian state elections in 2014 , the Left was able to appoint a prime minister in a German state for the first time with a red-red-green coalition under Bodo Ramelow .

The Left was able to distinguish itself and win in the 2015 state elections in Hamburg and Bremen . In two state elections in March 2016 ( Baden-Württemberg , Rhineland-Palatinate ), it failed (as in the 2011 elections there) clearly due to the five percent hurdle. In Saxony-Anhalt , Wulf Gallert strove to become Prime Minister under the leadership of a red-red-green coalition ; The left received only 16.3% (after 23.7% in 2011).

Federal party conference 2015 in Bielefeld.

The 2019 state election in Thuringia did not result in a majority for a red-red-green coalition. Bodo Ramelow also declared that he wanted to form a minority government if necessary.

On February 5, 2020, the members of the Thuringian state parliament voted in the third ballot with 45 to 44 votes, as expected, Bodo Ramelow, the FDP state chairman Thomas Kemmerich as the new prime minister. Kemmerich only ran in the third ballot. Apparently, he not only received votes from the FDP and CDU, but also from the AfD, because no one voted for their nomination, Christoph Kindervater , in the decisive ballot. In the history of the Federal Republic it was a novelty that the smallest parliamentary group provided the head of government, and the FDP had no contractual coalition partner on whose reliability Kemmerich could have built.

Ramelow announced on February 6 that he still intends to become prime minister. On February 8, Kemmerich resigned and was subsequently acting Prime Minister. The resignation paved the way to elect a new head of government without the state parliament having to dissolve or other ways to change the head of government, e.g. B. a vote of no confidence. On March 4, 2020, Ramelow was re-elected as Prime Minister of Thuringia.

On February 27, 2021, Susanne Hennig-Wellsow and Janine Wissler were elected as new party leaders at an online party congress after Kipping and Riexinger had stopped taking office after almost nine years.

Federal party congresses

No. date place
Founding party convention June 16, 2007 Berlin
1st party congress 24./25. May 2008 cottbus
European Party Congress February 28, 2009 eat
Bundestag election convention 20./21. June 2009 Berlin
1st session of the 2nd party congress 15./16. May 2010 Rostock
2nd session of the 2nd party congress 21-23 October 2011 Erfurt
1st session of the 3rd party congress 2nd / 3rd June 2012 Goettingen
2nd session of the 3rd party congress 14.-16. June 2013 Dresden
1st session of the 4th party congress 15./16. February 2014 Hamburg
2nd session of the 4th party congress 9-11 May 2014 Berlin
3rd session of the 4th party congress 6./7. June 2015 Bielefeld
1st session of the 5th party congress 28/29 May 2016 Magdeburg
2nd session of the 5th party congress 9-11 June 2017 Hanover ( Bundestag election party conference )
1st session of the 6th party congress 8-10 June 2018 Leipzig
2nd session of the 6th party congress 22.-24. February 2019 Bonn
1st session of the 7th Party Congress 26.-27. February 2021 Online party conference

Party leader

Janine Wissler Bernd Riexinger Oskar Lafontaine Thomas Händel Christine Buchholz Axel Troost Klaus Ernst

Katja Kipping Gesine Lötzsch Gabi Zimmer Lothar Bisky Gregor Gysi



Sahra Wagenknecht , parliamentary group leader (2018)

In the 2017 Bundestag election , the Left received 9.2 percent of the second vote (0.6 percentage points more than in 2013) and was thus just ahead of Alliance 90 / The Greens . It thus moved into the Bundestag with a total of 69 seats, including five direct mandates (four in Berlin and one in Leipzig ).

In the 2013 federal election , Die Linke received 8.6 percent of the second vote (3.3 percentage points less than in 2009), making it the third-strongest party in the German Bundestag for the first time, just ahead of Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen . With 4 direct mandates (all in Berlin) and a total of 64 seats in the Bundestag, the party is still less represented than before.

In the 2009 Bundestag election , the party received 11.9 percent of the second vote. In addition, it was able to win 16 direct mandates from five countries (Berlin, Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia) and move into the Bundestag much stronger than the 2005 Bundestag election. In the federal states of Saxony-Anhalt and Brandenburg, Die Linke became the strongest party ahead of the SPD and CDU in the 2009 federal elections and was represented in the German Bundestag with 76 members, including 40 women and 36 men.

State parliaments

Countries in which Die Linke is in the state parliament
  • represented as opposition party in the state parliament
  • involved in the state government as a small coalition partner
  • participates as a major coalition partner in the state government and provides the head of government
  • The left is currently represented in ten state parliaments. The strongest parliamentary group with well over 20 percent of the vote can be found in the state parliament of Thuringia . In Saarland, Die Linke entered a parliament in an old federal state for the first time in 2009 with a double-digit result, and with 21.3 percent was even able to exceed the 20 percent mark. Three years later, the party in Saarland fell back to 16.1 percent.

    In the states of Baden-Württemberg , Rhineland-Palatinate and Bavaria , it has always failed because of the five percent hurdle . In 2012 she left the state parliaments of Schleswig-Holstein and North Rhine-Westphalia after one electoral period each . In January 2013 she failed to return to the state parliament of Lower Saxony .

    Government coalitions at the state level

    Government participation by PDS, WASG
    and DIE LINKE
    Duration country Coalition partner
    1998-2006 Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania SPD ( Cabinet Ringstorff I and II )
    2002-2011 Berlin SPD ( Senate Wowereit II and III )
    2009-2019 Brandenburg SPD ( Cabinet Platzeck III , Cabinet Woidke I and II )
    2014-2020 Thuringia SPD and Alliance 90 / The Greens ( Cabinet Ramelow I )
    since 2016 Berlin SPD and Alliance 90 / The Greens ( Senate Müller II )
    since 2019 Bremen SPD and Alliance 90 / The Greens ( Senate Bovenschulte )
    since 2020 Thuringia SPD and Alliance 90 / The Greens ( Cabinet Ramelow II )

    Counties and cities

    The left represents the district administrator for the districts of Mansfeld-Südharz , Wittenberg and Teltow-Fläming .

    At the head of the independent city of Eisenach and the (large) district towns of Halberstadt and Borna are the mayors of the Left. In Frankfurt (Oder) , René Wilke , a member of the party, was elected mayor on March 18, 2018. This makes Frankfurt (Oder) the largest city led by a member of the Left Party. In Kamenz and in the Ilm district , the left supported successful non-party candidates. Furthermore, 46 mayors and 17 other municipal electoral officials belong to the party.

    General overview of parliamentary election results

    Bürgerschaftswahl in Bremen 2007 Landtagswahl in Hessen 2008 Landtagswahl in Niedersachsen 2008 Bürgerschaftswahl in Hamburg 2008 Landtagswahl in Bayern 2008 Landtagswahl in Hessen 2009 Europawahl 2009 Landtagswahl im Saarland 2009 Landtagswahl in Sachsen 2009 Landtagswahl in Thüringen 2009 Landtagswahl in Brandenburg 2009 Landtagswahl in Schleswig-Holstein 2009 Bundestagswahl 2009 Landtagswahl in Nordrhein-Westfalen 2010 Bürgerschaftswahl in Hamburg 2011 Landtagswahl in Sachsen-Anhalt 2011 Landtagswahl in Baden-Württemberg 2011 Landtagswahl in Rheinland-Pfalz 2011 Bürgerschaftswahl in Bremen 2011 Landtagswahl in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern 2011 Wahl zum Abgeordnetenhaus von Berlin 2011 Landtagswahl im Saarland 2012 Landtagswahl in Schleswig-Holstein 2012 Landtagswahl in Nordrhein-Westfalen 2012 Landtagswahl in Niedersachsen 2013 Landtagswahl in Bayern 2013 Bundestagswahl 2013 Landtagswahl in Hessen 2013 Europawahl 2014 Landtagswahl in Sachsen 2014 Landtagswahl in Thüringen 2014 Landtagswahl in Brandenburg 2014 Bürgerschaftswahl in Hamburg 2015 Bürgerschaftswahl in Bremen 2015 Landtagswahl in Sachsen-Anhalt 2016 Landtagswahl in Baden-Württemberg 2016 Landtagswahl in Rheinland-Pfalz 2016 Landtagswahl in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern 2016 Wahl zum Abgeordnetenhaus von Berlin 2016 Landtagswahl im Saarland 2017 Landtagswahl in Schleswig-Holstein 2017 Landtagswahl in Nordrhein-Westfalen 2017 Bundestagswahl 2017 Landtagswahl in Niedersachsen 2017 Landtagswahl in Bayern 2018 Landtagswahl in Hessen 2018 Europawahl in Deutschland 2019 Bürgerschaftswahl in Bremen 2019 Landtagswahl in Brandenburg 2019 Landtagswahl in Sachsen 2019 Landtagswahl in Thüringen 2019Election course Die_Linke
    About this picture

    The left achieved high results predominantly in the new federal states and in Saarland (over 15%). It is stronger in the city-states than in the rest of the old federal states. Since the unification of the PDS and WASG to form the Die Linke party, it has run 34 state elections and was able to enter the state parliament in 25 of them.

    choice Share of votes Mandates annotation
    State election in Bremen 2007 8.4%
    Started for the first time as the Left Party and entered a West German state parliament for the first time
    State election in Hesse 2008 5.1%
    first entry into the state parliament
    State election in Lower Saxony in 2008 7.1%
    first entry into the state parliament
    State election in Hamburg 2008 6.4%
    first entry into the citizenry
    State election in Bavaria 2008 4.4%
    not represented in the state parliament (five percent hurdle)
    State election in Hesse 2009 5.4%
    first re-entry into a state parliament of a western federal state
    European elections 2009 7.5%
    previously as Linkspartei.PDS
    Election of the German Federal President in 2009
    one member was ill; 91 members of the Federal Assembly voted for the candidate of the left, Peter Sodann
    State election in Saarland 2009 21.3%
    first entry into the state parliament
    State election in Saxony 2009 20.6%
    previously as Linkspartei.PDS in the state parliament
    State election in Thuringia 2009 27.4%
    previously as Linkspartei.PDS in the state parliament
    State election in Brandenburg 2009 27.2%
    previously as Linkspartei.PDS in the state parliament, after the election ruling party (see Cabinet Platzeck III )
    State election in Schleswig-Holstein 2009 6.0%
    first entry into the state parliament
    Bundestag election 2009 11.9%
    fourth-strongest parliamentary group in the Bundestag, in the states of Saxony-Anhalt with 32.4% and in Brandenburg with 28.5% the strongest party, worst result achieved in Bavaria with 6.5%
    State election in North Rhine-Westphalia 2010 5.6%
    first entry into the state parliament
    Election of the German Federal President 2010
    126 (1st ballot) and 123 (2nd ballot) members of the Federal Assembly voted for the candidate of the Left, Luc Jochimsen
    State election in Hamburg 2011 6.4%
    Re-entry into the citizenry
    State election in Saxony-Anhalt 2011 23.7%
    previously as Linkspartei.PDS in the state parliament
    State election in Baden-Württemberg 2011 2.8%
    not represented in the state parliament (five percent hurdle); previously started as a WASG; first started as a party called Die Linke
    State election in Rhineland-Palatinate 2011 3.0%
    not represented in the state parliament (five percent hurdle); previously started as a WASG; first started as a party called Die Linke
    State election in Bremen 2011 5.6%
    Re-entry into the citizenry
    State election in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania 2011 18.4%
    Re-entry into the state parliament
    Election to the Berlin House of Representatives in 2011 11.7%
    Return to the House of Representatives; resigned from the state government
    Election of the German Federal President in 2012
    126 members of the Federal Assembly voted for the candidate of the Left, Beate Klarsfeld
    State election in Saarland 2012 16.1%
    Re-entry into the state parliament
    State election in Schleswig-Holstein 2012 2.2%
    no longer represented in the state parliament (five percent hurdle); leaving a West German state parliament for the first time
    State election in North Rhine-Westphalia 2012 2.5%
    no longer represented in the state parliament (five percent hurdle)
    State election in Lower Saxony 2013 3.1%
    no longer represented in the state parliament (five percent hurdle)
    State election in Bavaria 2013 2.1%
    not represented in the state parliament (five percent hurdle)
    Bundestag election 2013 8.6%
    Third largest group, best result with 25.4% in Saxony-Anhalt, worst with 3.8% in Bavaria
    State election in Hesse 2013 5.2%
    Re-entry into the state parliament
    European elections in Germany 2014 7.4%
    Return to the European Parliament
    State election in Saxony 2014 18.9%
    Re-entry into the state parliament
    State election in Thuringia 2014 28.2%
    best result so far in a state election, first state government led by the left
    State election in Brandenburg 2014 18.6%
    Re-entry into the state parliament, continuation of the coalition with the SPD
    Citizenship election in Hamburg 2015 8.5%
    Re-entry into the citizenry
    Citizenship election in Bremen 2015 9.5%
    Re-entry into the citizenry
    State election in Baden-Württemberg 2016 2.9%
    not represented in the state parliament (five percent hurdle)
    State election in Rhineland-Palatinate 2016 2.8%
    not represented in the state parliament (five percent hurdle)
    State election in Saxony-Anhalt 2016 16.3%
    Re-entry into the state parliament
    State election in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania 2016 13.2%
    Re-entry into the state parliament, lowest election result since reunification (initially as PDS )
    Election to the Berlin House of Representatives in 2016 15.6%
    Return to the House of Representatives
    Election of the German Federal President in 2017
    128 members of the Federal Assembly voted for the candidate of the left, Christoph Butterwegge
    State election in Saarland 2017 12.8%
    worst result since the party was founded
    State election in Schleswig-Holstein 2017 3.8%
    not represented in the state parliament (five percent hurdle)
    State election in North Rhine-Westphalia 2017 4.9%
    not represented in the state parliament (five percent hurdle)
    Bundestag election 2017 9.2%
    fifth largest group; best result with 18.8% in Berlin, worst with 6.1% in Bavaria
    State election in Lower Saxony 2017 4.6%
    not represented in the state parliament (five percent hurdle)
    State election in Bavaria 2018 3.2%
    not represented in the state parliament (five percent hurdle)
    State election in Hesse 2018 6.3%
    Re-entry into the state parliament
    European elections in Germany 2019 5.5%
    Return to the European Parliament
    Citizenship election in Bremen 2019 11.3%

    Re-entry into the citizenry
    State election in Brandenburg 2019 10.7%

    Re-entry into the state parliament
    State election in Saxony 2019 10.4%

    Re-entry into the state parliament
    State election in Thuringia 2019 31.0%

    Strongest parliamentary group, best result ever in a state election
    Citizenship election in Hamburg 2020 9.1%

    Re-entry into the citizenry
    State election in Baden-Württemberg in 2021 3.6%
    not represented in the state parliament (five percent hurdle)
    State election in Rhineland-Palatinate 2021 2.5%
    not represented in the state parliament (five percent hurdle)
    2007 8.4%
    2008 4.4% 6.4% 5.1% 7.1%
    2009 27.2% 5.4% 21.3% 20.6% 6.0% 27.4%
    2010 5.6%
    2011 2.8% 11.7% 5.6% 6.4% 18.4% 3.0% 23.7%
    2012 2.5% 16.1% 2.2%
    2013 2.1% 5.2% 3.1%
    2014 18.6% 18.9% 28.2%
    2015 9.5% 8.5%
    2016 2.9% 15.6% 13.2% 2.8% 16.3%
    2017 4.6% 4.9% 12.8% 3.8%
    2018 3.2% 6.3%
    2019 10.7% 11.3% 10.4% 31.0%
    2020 9.1%
    2021 3.6% 2.5%
      Entry into the state parliament
      Highest result in the respective federal state without having entered the state parliament

    Nominations of members of other parties on the party's lists

    As part of an alliance policy, members of other parties were running on the PDS lists well before the merger of WASG and PDS. In the 2005 Bundestag election, WASG candidates entered the Bundestag on state lists of the Linkspartei.PDS. DKP members moved into around 20 municipal parliaments and a state parliament via the lists of the PDS and the Die Linke party . The DKP member Christel Wegner , who was elected to the Lower Saxony state parliament in this way on January 27, 2008, was expelled from the left-wing parliamentary group on February 18, 2008 due to controversial statements about state security.

    With regard to this incident, new criteria for candidacies were adopted at the 1st party congress in Cottbus. According to this, personalities who are not affiliated with the party can still be put on the lists of the party as candidates if they are committed to the “programmatic cornerstones” and the party's election programs and are close to the principles formulated there. The candidacy of members of other parties is excluded for state, Bundestag and European elections, especially since in the meantime the formation of members of a foreign party is already prohibited by law in Bundestag elections.

    See also


    Web links

    Commons : Die Linke  - collection of images, videos and audio files
     Wikinews: Portal: Die Linke  - in the news

    Individual evidence

    1. Membership numbers 2020. Die Linke, December 31, 2020, accessed on January 22, 2021 .
    2. Franz Decker: The program of the LEFT . Federal Agency for Civic Education , October 15, 2015.
    3. party program. (PDF) Retrieved September 29, 2018 . Die Linke, p. 7 (PDF).
    4. Frank Decker : The programmatic of the LEFT. Federal Agency for Civic Education , July 16, 2018, accessed on February 13, 2020 : "In addition to the social issue, the ecological issue takes up a large part of the program."
    5. Frank Decker: The program of the LEFT | Parties in Germany | bpb. Retrieved August 30, 2020 .
    6. party program. (PDF) Retrieved November 8, 2020 . Die Linke, p. 54 (PDF).
    7. ^ Judith Lembke: Marketing strategies: election advertising is avant-garde. FAZ.NET, accessed on December 22, 2010 .
    8. Determination of state funds for 2020 (as of April 19, 2021). Retrieved April 30, 2021 .
    9. Average age of the members of the political parties in Germany in 2019. stastita, August 3, 2020, accessed on September 5, 2020 .
    10. Membership numbers 2020. Die Linke, December 31, 2020, accessed on January 22, 2021 .
    11. On dealing with the DIE LINKE brand. In:, May 22, 2007, accessed on March 29, 2019 (PDF).
    12. Register of associations of the Charlottenburg District Court , entry of the association through merger in accordance with the Transformation Act on the register sheets of both parties VR 26146 B and VR 26141 B) on June 15, 2007.
    13. ^ Andreas Malycha, Peter Jochen Winters: The SED: History of a German Party. CH Beck, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-406-59231-7 , p. 402.
    14. Uwe Müller: Die Linke - We are the legal successors of the SED. In: . April 29, 2009. Retrieved October 29, 2019 .
    15. On dealing with history ( memento of October 12, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 116 kB), , accessed on January 18, 2009.
    16. The new left sees itself in third place. (No longer available online.) In: June 16, 2007, archived from the original on January 22, 2009 ; Retrieved March 16, 2008 .
    17. ^ Speech by Oskar Lafontaine., accessed on July 3, 2013 .
    18. a b Programmatic cornerstones of the left. (No longer available online.), archived from the original on December 13, 2009 ; Retrieved December 22, 2010 .
    19. Key points of the program, Part III “Our Alternative: Social, Democratic and Peacebuilding Reforms to Overcome Capitalism”. (No longer available online.), archived from the original on November 29, 2009 ; Retrieved December 22, 2010 .
    20. Bundestag election program 2009 ( Memento from July 4, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF file; 317 kB)
    21. 100-point program of the parliamentary group Die Linke ( Memento from May 31, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
    22. ^ Motion by the Die Linke parliamentary group in the German Bundestag: "Make income tax tariffs fair - implement tax relief for low and medium incomes". (PDF; 95 kB) Retrieved December 22, 2010 .
    23. ( Memento from October 6, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
    25. a b The seven main points of parliamentary work for the left in 2015. (No longer available online.) January 20, 2015, archived from the original on February 15, 2015 ; accessed on February 15, 2015 .
    26. Left parliamentary group: work in the energy sector. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on March 14, 2008 ; Retrieved March 16, 2008 .
    27. Left parliamentary group: Publicly funded employment. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on April 30, 2008 ; Retrieved March 16, 2008 .
    28. Harald Werner: And not a bit of a minimum wage. Die Linke, June 19, 2007, accessed March 16, 2008 .
    29. Left parliamentary group: minimum wage. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on August 3, 2008 ; Retrieved March 16, 2008 .
    30. Left parliamentary group: Protection against dismissal. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on June 2, 2008 ; Retrieved March 16, 2008 .
    31. Disarmament instead of armament - NATO is an insecurity alliance., accessed on February 15, 2015 .
    32. Left parliamentary group: sustainability as a guiding principle. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on June 2, 2008 ; Retrieved March 16, 2008 .
    33. Left parliamentary group: energy efficiency. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on May 13, 2008 ; Retrieved March 16, 2008 .
    34. Left parliamentary group: Renewable energies instead of atomic fantasies. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on May 13, 2008 ; Retrieved March 16, 2008 .
    35. Left parliamentary group: Conservation - Issue papers of the parliamentary group. Retrieved November 3, 2019 .
    36. Party check European elections 2019. Accessed on January 9, 2020 .
    37. Position paper: For an agricultural policy oriented towards the common good from 2020 in rural areas , June 7, 2018, accessed on November 3, 2019
    38. Genetic Engineering in Agriculture - Issue Papers of the parliamentary group , accessed on November 3, 2019
    39. seknews: Die Linke supports rural agriculture , accessed on November 3, 2019
    40. Resolutions and declarations of the Federal Committee - Protecting animals effectively , June 22, 2019, accessed on November 3, 2019
    41. Land Grabbing - Questions and Answers , accessed on November 3, 2019
    42. Demonstration “We are fed up with it”. Retrieved January 9, 2020 .
    43. ^ Program of the party Die Linke: Mobility for everyone - ecological traffic turnaround
    44. Left parliamentary group: Transport Policy. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on May 11, 2008 ; Retrieved March 16, 2008 .
    45. Left: Gradually reduce the taxation of biofuels. (No longer available online.) In: today in the Bundestag. German Bundestag, June 19, 2007, archived from the original on May 3, 2008 ; Retrieved March 16, 2008 .
    46. ^ Program of the party Die Linke: With the three-phase model for free public transport
    47. Cf. program of the party Die Linke, section “ IV.5 How do we want to fundamentally reshape the European Union? Democracy, Welfare State, Ecology and Peace ”.
    48. : The Left Party wants a referendum on the fiscal pact
    49. ^ Gregor Gysi: Premises of German foreign policy from a left perspective. Atlantic Initiative, July 24, 2012, accessed August 20, 2012 .
    50. Johannes Stern: Left Party calls for the introduction of Eurobonds. World Socialist Web Site, September 2, 2011, accessed May 7, 2013 .
    51. Axel Troost: It's time for Eurobonds. (No longer available online.) Die Linke im Bundestag, February 13, 2013, archived from the original on February 27, 2013 ; Retrieved May 7, 2013 .
    52. Linke looks at the export of small arms. (No longer available online.) In: today in the Bundestag. German Bundestag, June 15, 2007, archived from the original on January 23, 2009 ; Retrieved March 16, 2008 .
    53. Program comparison left - other parties ( Memento from February 10, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
    54. Bundestag election program 2009, p. 54. (PDF; 380 kB) (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on October 6, 2009 ; Retrieved December 22, 2010 .
    55. ^ Resolution of the WASG and PDS party congresses on March 24th and 25th, 2007 in Dortmund. (No longer available online.), archived from the original on August 23, 2009 ; Retrieved December 22, 2010 .
    56. ^ Resolution of the Federal Committee of September 21, 2008., accessed on December 22, 2010 .
    57. ↑ Lift the PKK ban, end political discrimination against Kurds ( memento from July 9, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
    58. ^ Samuel Salzborn / Sebastian Voigt: Anti-Semites as coalition partners? The Left Party between anti-Zionist anti-Semitism and the pursuit of the ability to govern. ( Memento from August 19, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Online advance publication, 2011.
    59. ^ Samuel Salzborn, Sebastian Voigt: Anti-Semites as coalition partners? The Left Party between anti-Zionist anti-Semitism and the pursuit of the ability to govern. In: ZfP 58, volume 3/2011 .
    60. the 110th meeting, p. 41 ff .; Recording online as a video  ( page no longer available , search in web archives ) can be viewed in the Bundestag media library.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /
    61. Left angry about anti-Semitic tendencies. In: . June 3, 2011, accessed December 23, 2014 .
    62. M. Hollstein, P. Kuhn: Why the Left Party has a problem with Israel. In: . May 20, 2011, accessed December 23, 2014 .
    63. The “Left” and their relationship to Israel: “This is how one creates images of the enemy.”
    64. Jan-Philipp Hein: Left Party: A Problem Called Israel. In: . May 23, 2008, accessed December 23, 2014 .
    65. Gaza Aid: Left-wing MPs rail against Israel. In: Focus Online . June 1, 2010, accessed December 23, 2014 .
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