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Left elect new speakers - and celebrate a party conference full of oddities

First the formalities: Sabine Ritter and Thomas Iwan will in future lead the Hamburg state association of the Left Party.

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Left elect new speakers - and celebrate a party conference full of oddities

First the formalities: Sabine Ritter and Thomas Iwan will in future lead the Hamburg state association of the Left Party. At the eighth party conference of the association on Saturday in Wilhelmsburg, almost 71 percent of the 130 delegates voted for Ritter as state spokeswoman and around 72 percent for Iwan as state spokesman. The two replace Zaklin Nastic and Keyvan Taheri, neither of whom ran for re-election.

Ritter prevailed against Gunhild Berdal (around 27 percent) and Bijan Tavassoli (less than one percent). In her application speech, she said that one could no longer afford half-hearted climate policies, patriarchy and the rich. Left-wing ideas must move to the center of Hamburg politics. She spoke out in favor of free local public transport, tram transport and more housing space and, in this context, in case of doubt, also for expropriations. Thomas Iwan prevailed against Florian Muhl (almost 26 percent). Ivan had emphasized that in all analysis of social problems it is also important to take action, for example when it comes to eliminating poverty.

What sounds like a relatively normal party congress also offered some oddities on another level. Right from the start, a call was made to refrain from insults or even physical violence. Recently, the leftists in Internet forums had sometimes been so fussed that this step seemed necessary. However, it was not friendly in the Wilhelmsburg community center, as some special members also wanted to make an appearance. In his speech, a man declared himself a woman and wanted to occupy one of the women's seats on the board, which ultimately failed as an idea. Later, one speaker who did utter abuse was removed from the lectern, while others became lyrical and quoted poems before their speeches.

But then there was content of a political nature: A leading motion was passed in which a Hamburg minimum wage of at least 15.50 euros and financial relief for people with low and middle incomes, for example in the form of a climate bonus, were called for. Other demands include a ban on electricity and gas cutoffs and a legal guarantee for an affordable basic quota for electricity and gas. The text also criticizes the federal government's increasing armaments spending.

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