Left wants to focus on 2013 election year

In the next three months, a policy debate is to be held, which is to result in an election program and an election strategy for the federal elections: "we invite all members of the party to participate," it said in a statement published in berlin.

In the elections to the executive committee of the deeply divided left, the radical camp, anchored predominantly in west germany and led by saarland faction leader and left-wing "founding father" oskar lafontaine, won out over the east german reformers. Its candidate, bundestag parliamentary group vice-chairman dietmar bartsch, was defeated in a vote for the chairmanship.

Gysi drew a gloomy picture of the bundestag faction at the party conference more than a week ago – there is "hatred" between the two party wings. The faction meets this tuesday for the first time after the party conference.

The new party executive committee was to meet for the first time this monday in berlin. In the joint declaration, it said: "we agree that it is now a central task to set the political and organizational course for the coming election year."

The next three months will be decisive in determining whether the left can turn the "signal of cohesion from gottingen" into a new departure. "To achieve this, we need a culture of listening and debate," the statement reads. "Our differences make us strong when we learn from each other"."

About five years ago, the left had emerged from the west german WASG and the east german PDS. She is currently battling declining poll ratings. Most recently, the left failed to reach the five percent hurdle in the state elections in schleswig-holstein and north rhine-westphalia.