Wagenknecht under pressure from leftists after comments on berlin attack

The left-wing politician criticizes Merkel and calls the police "not equipped to deal with the danger". Party friends criticize her sharply.

Not in line: Sarah Wagenknecht has to explain herself to her own people Photo: dpa

There is displeasure in the Left Party over new statements by parliamentary group leader Sahra Wagenknecht on refugee and security policy. In the online edition of the Berliner Zeitung, Martina Renner, a member of the Bundestag, spoke out against personalizing blame. Renner was reacting to Wagenknecht’s statement that Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) bore "joint responsibility" for the attack at Berlin’s Breitscheidplatz. Wagenknecht spoke not only of "the uncontrolled opening of the borders" but also of the "broken police force.

"Personalizing blame and the fairy tale of the weak state – that should not be our business," Renner said. MP Jan van Aken accused Wagenknecht in the online portal of arguing with false facts. For example, he said, the Berlin attacker Anis Amri came to Germany in July 2015. The controversial opening of the border for refugees, however, was only in September.

Van Aken had already declared in July last year: "Anyone who criticizes Merkel from the right cannot be chairman of a left-wing faction." Wagenknecht had already come under fire several times within the party with statements on refugee policy – for example, with the statement that not everyone could come to Germany.

Wagenknecht had also referred to foreign policy in Stern. She cited "the oil wars of the United States and its allies, supported by Merkel, to which the ‘Islamic State’ owes its existence and strength in the first place. The head of the left-wing parliamentary group received praise from the AfD. The leader of the AfD in North Rhine-Westphalia called Wagenknecht a "smart woman" on Twitter. He had written after the attack itself: "They are Merkel’s dead!"