Elections in saxony and brandenburg: disaster for the left party

In the state elections, the former caretaker party of the East comes in both states only just over 10 percent.

Painful results for the Left Party in Saxony Photo: dpa

With just over 10 percent in Brandenburg and Saxony, according to initial projections, the Left Party has achieved the worst results in its history in both states. Even last calls to show the "Nazis a clear edge" by voting for the Left Party were no longer successful. Five years ago, it was 18..6 percent respectively. The high losses are particularly evident when compared with 2009, when the AfD did not yet exist: At that time, the left won 27.6 percent in Brandenburg and 20.6 percent in Saxony.

Party leader Katja Kipping said in an initial reaction on ARD television that the results "hurt": "I would have liked more tailwind." But she said she had suspected such a result a bit: "People told me during the election campaign, I’ll stand by you, but this time I’ll have to vote tactically." In the east, she said, the "seeds of market radicalism" were now sprouting, leading people to "use their elbows." She did not see the party’s status as the party of the East in danger.

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In Brandenburg, the Left Party has governed as a smaller partner in a coalition with the SPD since 2009. Numerous ministers have had to resign over scandals, most recently in the summer of 2018 Health Minister Diana Golze, who was the designated top candidate for the state elections.

"Not the end of days"

Instead of her, 29-year-old Sebastian Walter and 53-year-old Kathrin Dannenberg ran as the top duo. In the election campaign, for example, they were counting on an even earlier exit from coal in Lusatia than had already been planned. The fact that the Left Party had supported the failed district reform in Brandenburg also proved to be a burden in the election campaign. It would have made the districts, which are already large, even larger and thus made it more difficult to get to the offices. SPD Minister President Dietmar Woidke finally ended the project after protests from the population, to the surprise of the Left.

In Saxony, Rico Gebhardt (56) was the top candidate for the Left Party. In the election campaign, the party addressed, among other things, the rural exodus, which it wanted to counteract with better medical care and the establishment of corner stores. Gebhardt told ZDF on election night that the result was "not the end of all days": "We will be back."

The result will also have an impact on the Left Party nationwide. Already with the result of the 2017 federal election, when the Left made significant gains in the West and lost in the East, the weights in the parliamentary group and party had shifted toward the West. The result was a dispute between faction leader Sahra Wagenknecht and party leader Kipping over whether to try to bring back voters who had migrated to the AfD or to court a similar group of voters to the Greens. The result is likely to revive both the dispute over the party’s orientation and that over the personnel appointments at the top of the party and the parliamentary group.