Germany’s newly formed left-wing populist party will not allow former Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) politicians to join it, the group’s chairwoman Amira Mohamed Ali has said.
The Alliance Sahra Wagenknecht (BSW) – named after its firebrand leader Sahra Wagenknecht – is made up of politicians who recently abandoned Germany’s hard-left Die Linke party.
The new outfit is taking harsh stances against immigration, transgenderism and supporting Ukraine amid the ongoing Russian invasion.
Speaking to the German media, Mohamed Ali firmly rejected the idea that the new group would attract defectors from the AfD despite similarities in social policy.
“No, for God’s sake, that’s unimaginable,” she exclaimed when a question on the matter was put to her.
“That won’t happen, we won’t allow that either.”
Her forthright comments regarding AfD politicians do not appear to hold for the party’s voters.
Both Mohamed Ali and Wagenknecht herself have expressed an interest in getting AfD voters to turn to them instead.
“Of course there are a lot of people who vote for the AfD, not because they are right-wing, but because they are angry, because they are desperate,” Wagenknecht said.
“Many have drawn the conclusion that, okay, if there is nothing else for now, we will vote for the AfD.
“We want to give these people a serious offer.”
Such a policy appears to be reflected in the group’s polling, with the majority of its support appearing to have been derived from what would previously have been AfD voters.
Sahra Wagenknecht, Germany’s pre-eminent firebrand of left-wing politics, has left the Die Linke party and announced the creation of her own populist group. https://t.co/8tZgJEgGRM
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) October 24, 2023
The founding of the new party has been met with vitriol from the German Left, with many accusing Wagenknecht of merely appeasing her ego with the project.
Others have simply opted to accuse her of being “transphobic”, together with other insults along those lines.
Somewhat ironically, despite taking support from the right-wing populist group, it appears those within the AfD have been the most positive about the genesis of the new group.
“Sahra Wagenknecht is a fascinating politician,” party MEP Maximilian Krah told Brussels Signal, adding that the new party’s leader was frequently correct on many issues.
He did express concern that Wagenknecht would be unable to solve Germany’s mass migration problem within a left-wing framework.
“I don’t see how she could address this issue without losing her left-wing supporters,” he said.
“This is the same challenge faced by Robert Kennedy Jr in the United States who has recently expressed a need for greater border controls with Mexico, a stance that stands outside the left’s playbook.”
Despite that, Krah welcomed the party’s creation, saying it could end up being a positive thing for German democracy and would likely not hurt the AfD in the long term.
“I believe that with Sahra Wagenknecht’s party we will see the rise of an anti-establishment Left, something that could be very valuable for a healthy democracy,” he said.
“This poses a danger for the mainstream political parties in Germany but not for us,” he inisisted.
Germany’s Die Linke parliamentary group will not last much longer, according to an MP who recently defected from the party. https://t.co/1iMg75ToaT
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) October 20, 2023