Dietmar Bartsch, one of the two parliamentary co-leaders of the German Die Linke party, has announced he will resign before the end of September.
The news comes after the party’s other Bundestag boss Amira Mohamed Ali also announced she would imminently leave her role, citing “political reasons” for her decision.
According to news outlet Der Spiegel, Bartsch has tried to differentiate his decision from the various problems currently plaguing the party, saying instead that he had wanted to step back for a while to spend more time with his family.
“My family and closest political friends were aware of this decision,” he reportedly claimed in a letter sent to the party leadership.
“Yes, in the past few days and weeks, many have strongly urged me to run again in this difficult situation for the party. Ultimately, I stuck to my decision [to resign].”
The loss of the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania politician could not come at a worse time for the hard-left Die Linke party, which has languished at the bottom of German polls while the right-wing populist Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) has roared ahead.
Die Linke has also been fighting off internal coups for some time, with one of the group’s most popular politicians Sahra Wagenknecht actively considering whether to split off and create her own political party.
“The EU costs Germans a fortune, robs us of our national democracy, and is pushing us towards military involvement in foreign wars,” AfD MEP @BuchheitMarkus told Brussels Signal. https://t.co/npcNVpkZI9
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Tensions between Wagenknecht and the rest of her party have largely stemmed from her opposition to its progressive agenda on the likes of immigration, with the left-wing populist often taking a more Conservative view on cultural issues while maintaining a Socialist economic stance.
Previously considered something of a talisman for the party, Die Linke voted to oust the MP in June, in a move considered by many to be “self-destructive”.
German media are now hyping up the potential of a new Wagenknecht left-wing party, with many hoping it would prove to be the obstacle that finally puts an end to the AfD’s recent meteoric rise in the polls.
The AfD party itself does not appear to be especially concerned about Wagenknecht, with many senior officials in the group even praising the MP for her opposition to progressive ideology.
Björn Höcke, an up-and-comer within the AfD, has even invited Wagenknecht to defect to his party, suggesting it would be a far better home for her than Die Linke.
Such admiration does not appear to be reciprocal, with the hard-left politician having spurned such advances from the right when speaking to the media.
Italian conservatives are outraged after Carlota Rackete, the captain of a controversial migrant-rescue ship, became a candidate for Germany's Die Linke party in next year’s EU elections. https://t.co/mkMGGFX7mV
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