At midday, the West looks like it's about to collapse. Sahra Wagenknecht enters the Berlin stage – it's her show, from A to Z. Sahra Wagenknecht in the battle against reality: everyone. Today, her new party, the Sahra-Wagenknecht Alliance, meets for its first party conference. The Cosmos cinema in East Berlin is packed with fans and thus new party members.
Wagenknecht wants to catch the dissatisfied
Sarah Wagenknecht came with her husband, former German Finance Minister of the Social Democratic Party, Oscar La Fontaine. He sits in the audience and listens to his wife, who knows she has to give the speech of her life today. Then she began: “We are now setting out together to change politics in Germany. We are doing this because we feel that something is changing in our society. There are a lot of problems, a lot of uncertainty, but there is also a lot of discontent and anger.”
It sounds a lot like populism – Wagenknecht wants to pick up the disaffected – and in her view, that actually means everyone here in Germany. They are bullied, excluded, and not taken seriously by the “infernal trio” of Schulz, Habeck, and Baerbock. Christian Democratic Union leader Friedrich Merz may not be an alternative either. If nothing happens now, it could “lead to disaster.” Of course, there is only one potential savior: Sarah Wagenknecht.
“It's just me against everyone”
Wagenknecht is often accused of being a friend of Putin (which she denies), and criticizes the European Union and thus Germany's policy towards Russia. Arms shipments to Kiev must be stopped “because the Ukrainian generals themselves no longer believe in victory.” Sanctions must also be lifted and Russian gas must flow through pipelines to Germany again.
NATO and the European Union must also be included with it. Because Europe is a friend of America, it has been crushed between the major blocs and drawn into conflicts.
Especially when it comes to foreign policy issues, there are significant overlaps with the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. Therefore, Wagenknecht must distinguish himself here as well, after all, her formula is: “I alone against all.”
Capturing voices on the margins
It is unclear whether this will work. First of all, and this is what Janina Mozzi, the Berlin pollster from Civi, also believes, Wagenknecht will break up her old party, the Left. But there is also great potential in the AfD.
Meanwhile, the Social Democratic Party, the Christian Democratic Union, the Greens and the Free Democratic Party are looking quite calmly at Wagenknecht's emergence and thus his entry into the German political scene. Let them all tear each other apart on the sidelines – that is the secret hope at party headquarters in Berlin.
Will this work? The first test is the European elections in June – followed by state elections in Thuringia, Saxony and Brandenburg in the autumn. Who will believe the story of the West on the brink of abyss? Will Wagenknecht's party be able to reach parliament? The political fall of 2024 will likely go down in the history books as one of the most interesting. But it is certain that the fall of the West will not happen.
Chief Foreign Correspondent
Stefan Reinhardt is the chief foreign correspondent and head of the newsroom in Zurich. He was previously a correspondent for SRF in Germany.
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