Left party votes for dual leadership role | News | DW | 02.06.2012
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Left party votes for dual leadership role

Germany’s Left party has chosen two candidates for its dual leadership. In the first of two votes, delegates opted for 34-year-old Katja Kipping, while Bernd Riexinger won the second spot.

Germany's Left party opted for youth over experience in a leadership vote that saw Kipping take on 63-year-old Dora Heyenn.

At the vote during the party conference day in Göttingen, Kipping won 67 percent the 553 delegates' votes to choose a joint leader, while Heyenn garnered just above 29 percent.

In her speech ahead of the vote, Kipping called for "an awaking from entrenched thinking, and instead acting together as one."

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Heyenn said after the first vote that she would not be contesting further.

In the dual leadership of the party, one of the leaders chosen is always a woman with the second vote taking place for either a man or woman.

Among those standing in the second vote were deputy parliamentary party leader, Dietmar Bartsch, and Baden-Wurttemberg state chairman Bernd Riexinger. Riexinger ended up winning the party's second chair position, beating out Bartsch 297 to 251.

Party vice chair Sahra Wagenknecht - understood to be supported by former party leader Oskar Lafontaine - ended speculation that she might stand in the second vote, saying she did not wish to polarize the party.

Earlier, outgoing co-chairman Klaus Ernst had told delegates the party was in danger of fragmenting. A divide exists along the lines of a more pragmatic school of thought in the former East German states, and a more radical western faction.

The party won 11.9 percent of the vote in national elections in 2009, but its support has since slipped to 7 percent.

rc/mz (dpa, Reuters, AFP)

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