Migration activist Carola Rackete pledged to fight “climate apartheid” after the far-left Die Linke party officially selected her and GUE/NGL leader Martin Schirdewan as its principals on Saturday. party candidates alongside MEP Özlem Demirel in next year’s European elections.
The choice of the best candidate was confirmed by Die Linke delegates at the party’s annual conference in Augsburg after Rackete was appointed by the party leadership in July.
“We face a choice in Europe: human rights or white supremacy; climate justice or climate apartheid; a good life for everyone or the return of fascism,” she told the party conference, adding that climate change is a “social crisis” that exacerbates social disparities.
Die Linke is the only party that combines social and green policies, she said.
Rackete, who is not a party member, rose to prominence in 2019 as a ship captain rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean. She clashed with Italy’s far-right leader and then interior minister Matteo Salvini when she docked her ship in an Italian port against his orders.
“Best wishes, long live democracy,” Salvini quipped on X in response to his appointment in July. Die Linke co-leader Janine Wissler added fuel to the fire at the launch of the party’s manifesto when she said the party wanted to challenge “the Italian government and the fascist forces there”.
With Rackete’s candidacy, the leadership wants to redefine the identity of Die Linke as an “openness to activists” from green and social movements, as Wissler had already expressed.
The party’s draft European election program encompasses a mix of topical left-wing demands regarding radical, anti-capitalist redistribution and climate policy.
A new start?
Die Linke’s emphasis on green policies is also the result of an ongoing regrouping process following the departure of prominent MP Sahra Wagenknecht, who sharply criticized what she called “culture war” topics “. Its new Sahra Wagenknecht Alliance (BSW) was spear in November and aims to run in the European elections on a more socially conservative platform.
Although Die Linke’s leadership claims the split has reunified the party, it appears it could lose its parliamentary position as a result.
Since Die Linke has decided to expel all renegade MPs from its parliamentary group in the Bundestag within two weeks, it will lose its parliamentary group status and the financial and representation privileges that come with it. If the party fails to surpass its current 4%, it will not get any seats in the Bundestag in the next general election due to an electoral threshold.
However, contrary to previous predictions, Die Linke has not lost much support to the BSW and has a good chance of retaining its five seats in the European elections, as indicative polls including the new alliance have shown. Die Linke would thus remain an essential pillar of the GUE/NGL group in the European Parliament.
The BSW continues to attract mainly conservative voters, according to a poll published Friday and commissioned by the Institute for Critical Social Analysis, a research organization affiliated with Die Linke.
“The electoral potential of the two parties (Die Linke and BSW) overlaps much less than expected,” wrote the institute’s president, Mario Candeias.
(Nick Alipour | Euractiv.de)