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Dietmar Gerhard Bartsch (born 31 March 1958) is a German politician, former Federal Whip (Bundesgeschäftsführer) of the Party of Democratic Socialism (1997–2002, 2005–2007) and Die Linke (2007–2010) and member of the Bundestag. He is married and has two children. Since October 2015, Bartsch has served as the co-leader of Die Linke's parliamentary group, a position he holds with Sahra Wagenknecht. Bartsch represents the moderate, reformist wing of the party.
Bartsch was born and raised in Stralsund, in the East German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. After completing his schooling at the EOS Franzburg in 1976, he began studying economics at the University of Economic Studies at Berlin-Karlshorst, graduating in 1983.
Following graduation, Bartsch joined the business department of the German daily paper Junge Welt. From 1986 till 1990, he studied at the Academy for Social Sciences at the Communist Party of the Soviet Union headquarters, before returning to Junge Welt as their business executive.
Bartsch became a member of the Socialist Unity Party (SED), the GDR's ruling party, in 1977, co-founding the Committee of Young Comrades (AGJG) in 1989. Following German Reunification, Bartsch served as the Party of Democratic Socialism's (PDS) Federal Treasurer and was later elected federal whip.
In 2002, he ran as one of four leading candidates for the PDS in the general elections. After the party failed to overcome the constitutionally-defined 5-percent-clause, sending only two representatives to the Bundestag, Bartsch's political rivals asked for his resignation as federal whip.
After declining to stand for re-selection as whip in 2002, he was nominated federal whip by PDS party chairman Lothar Bisky in 2005, and elected into office the following December. After the party`s transformation from The PDS into The Left, Bartsch continued leading the party in his role as federal whip.
He managed the party's 2009 General Election campaign, during which The Left achieved a result of 11.9% nationwide.
In early January 2010, Bartsch was accused by Gregor Gysi, at the time parliamentary leader of The Left, to have harmed party chairman Oskar Lafontaine through specific statements to the German news magazine Der Spiegel. Bartsch denied this and allegations of disloyalty, as well as rejecting speculation that he considered himself Lafontaine's replacement. Though he remained the whip following this incident, Bartsch declined to run for this office again in 2010.
In January, 2010, Bartsch was named deputy chairman of The Left's parliamentary group in the Bundestag. His used this position to focus on national budget and finances.
In August 2011, he distanced himself from a congratulatory letter that two members of The Left had sent the former Cuban President Fidel Castro for his birthday. After some members of The Left boycotted a minute of silence for the casualties at the Berlin Wall, Bartsch suggested proponents of the Berlin Wall leave the party.
Bartsch declared his intention to run for party chairman in late 2011. At the annual party convention of The Left in June 2012, Bartsch lost to union-backed candidate Bernd Riexinger from Baden-Württemberg, a close ally to former party chairman Oskar Lafontaine.
- Dietmar Bartsch criticizes Germany's Turkey agreement in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German)
- Germans told to stockpile food and water for civil defence in BBC World (in English)
- Dietmar Bartsch is asking for chancellor Merkel's resignation in Handelsblatt (in German)
- Dietmar Bartsch: Merkel to be replaced within a week in Express (in English)
- The Left is trying to stop CETA in Deutsche Welle (in German)
- EU Commissioner Günther Oettinger "racist and homophobic" in Deutsche Welle (in German)
- A German government report on "How to live well in Germany" in Deutsche Welle (in English)
- The discussion about the next President of Germany in Deutsche Welle (in Spanish)
- Angela Merkel: Germany will remain Germany in Der Standard (in German)
- News Blog in Augsburger Allgemeine (in German)
- Dietmar Bartsch: Germany is ruled by fear in The European (in German)
- Dietmar Bartsch: The Turkey deal was a wrong decision in Deutschlandfunk (in German)
- Dietmar Bartsch and Sahra Wagenknecht elected chairs of The Left in Die Zeit (in German)
- The EU Commission needs to practice what it preaches in The NewStatesman (in English)
- Dietmar Bartsch: Steinmeiner is not our choice for Federal President of Germany in Deutschlandfunk (in German)
Media related to Dietmar Bartsch at Wikimedia Commons