Katja Kipping and Bernd Riexinger have presented their draft election program. They advocate a "left-wing Green New Deal."
The outgoing Left Party chairmen Riexinger and Kipping Photo: Bernd von Jutrczenkadpa
Their farewell gift is entitled "Time to act. For social security, peace and climate justice!" and runs to 137 pages. Barely three weeks before the digital party conference at which their successors are to be elected, Katja Kipping and Bernd Riexinger on Monday presented their draft for the election program with which the Left Party is to enter the Bundestag elections.
In their draft, the two outgoing chairmen avoid making any statements about possible coalition partners, thereby sidestepping a thorny internal party dispute. Nevertheless, during their appearance at the Karl Liebknecht House, the party headquarters in Berlin, they left no doubt that they do not want to remain in the opposition role, but want to shape things.
It is time for new majorities in society and in the Bundestag that "also tackle the necessary socio-ecological reorientation," Kipping said. "The Left Party is ready for this."
The draft program does not contain any major surprises. The increase in the minimum wage to 13 euros, the abolition of temporary work and permanent contracts, the increase in the statutory pension level to 53 percent, a solidarity-based minimum pension and a sanction-free minimum income of 1,200 euros each are part of the standard repertoire.
The same applies to the demand for a 5 percent tax on assets above 1 million euros. To cushion the costs of the Corona crisis, the Left Party is also calling for a further levy on assets above 2 million euros.
For a 30-hour week
Also not entirely new, but nevertheless noteworthy, is that Kipping and Riexinger advocate a "new normal working relationship," by which they mean a 4-day week with a total of 30 hours of work – with full wage and necessary personnel compensation. The goal: "Work that fits life," according to Riexinger.
What is striking is the strong interweaving of the social question with the ecological one. The Left Party uses the term "left-wing Green New Deal" for this. Among other things, the party leaders call for investments of 38 billion euros for public transport, cycle paths, railroads, footpaths and urban redevelopment. This would create "at least 200,000 meaningful and well-paid jobs. They want to phase out coal by 2030, and renewable energies are to completely replace the fossil energy system by 2035.
The Left Party remains true to its peace policy. It is the only party represented in the Bundestag to call for a significant reduction in the German military budget and continues to reject arms exports, armed drones and combat missions by the Bundeswehr abroad. "The Left Party is and will remain the peace party in the Bundestag," Riexinger said.
His and Kipping’s draft election program is the third in their nearly nine-year tenure – and also the last. If nothing comes up, Susanne Hennig-Wellsow and Janine Wissler will succeed them at the end of the month. They are "of course in close contact" with both of them, Riexinger said when asked whether the draft had been coordinated with them. The election program is to be finally adopted at a party congress in June.