Left-wing politician Sahra Wagenknecht (53) and Wagenknecht’s husband Oskar Lafontaine (79) have been a prominent political couple in Germany for years, and their both far-left and right views have affected German politics. While Lafontaine’s political career has ended, Wagenknecht has shown ambition to lead their own party in Germany.
Lafontaine, a former Minister of Finance and Chairman of the Social Democratic Party, co-founded Germany’s Left party (Die Linke) in 2007. He has been a divisive character, and his controversial statements on Germany’s federal government repeat Russian propaganda messages, like calling the federal government “loyal vassals of the United States”. He sees Ukraine as a “proxy war” between the US and Russia, or the entire West as actual aggressors.
Lafontaine’s tactic has been to attract voters disgruntled with centrist politics with bullish sound bites, like blaming the conflict in Ukraine on NATO’s refusal to listen to Moscow. He also gave an interview to Milena Preradovican, a former presenter with the mainstream television network RTL who now has a YouTube channel that caters to conspiracy theorists and the extreme right, where he accused the West of “lies” in the Ukraine crisis and called for “more understanding” of Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin.
Wagenknecht is a favorite in the nation’s most popular political talk shows and advocates for Germany to leave NATO and set up a new alliance that would include Russia. She denounces what she calls the “lobbycrats” in Brussels and calls for a “new EU.”
Both Lafontaine and Wagenknecht have repeatedly spoken of the need for an “opportunity to get into a position of power” for Germany’s left which is closely associated with right-wing extremists.
Wagenknecht and Lafontaine are mobilizing the cross-front with the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD). Lafontaine even explicitly invited AfD voters and politicians to a rally, which makes their distancing from the far-right party implausible.
While Lafontaine’s political career have ended, Wagenknecht’s views continue to influence German politics, and their willingness to collaborate with far-right AfD raises concerns.’