Nahles steps down after a year as party leader

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The support is no longer there, Andrea Nahles says, and is giving up her position as leader of the Social Democrats. The party is calling for a crisis meeting, and Malu Dreyer could temporarily take over the party leadership.

SPD leader Andrea Nahles resigns as party leader and chairwoman of the parliamentary group after internal criticism. “The discussion in the group and the many feedbacks from the party have shown me that the support necessary for exercising my offices is no longer there.” With her resignation, she wants to open up the possibility that succession could be arranged in an orderly manner in both functions. She hopes that the Social Democrats will succeed in “strengthening trust and mutual respect”.

Complete withdrawal from politics

A spokeswoman of the parliamentary group said according to dpa that Nahles wants to withdraw completely from politics and also resign her Bundestag mandate. In the afternoon, according to dpa information, the SPD leadership will discuss the next steps in a crisis meeting. A new election in the parliamentary group could already take place on Tuesday. As far as the party leadership is concerned, it will take longer. The next party conference is scheduled for December. A change of party leadership would therefore have to be decided by a special party conference.

Successor wanted

Rhineland-Palatinate’s Prime Minister Malu Dreyer is being considered within the SPD as interim party leader. So far, the Prime Minister of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Manuela Schwesig, and the head of the government of Lower Saxony, Stephan Weil, have been the main potential successors to Nahles at the top of the party.

Senior member of the parliamentary group, Rolf Mützenich, will take over business as the longest serving vice-chairman of the parliamentary group, unless the parliamentary group elects a new chairman on Tuesday, according to SPD circles. Achim Post, the current vice-president of the parliamentary group, is also considered a possible candidate for the chairmanship of the parliamentary group.

First woman ever at the top of the SPD

Nahles had become party leader in April 2018 and has led the parliamentary group since September 2017. She has taken over the pary leadership in “difficult times”, she now explained. “Our country needs a strong SPD,” she wrote at the end of her statement.

In the European elections, the SPD had achieved its worst result to date in a nationwide election with 15.8 percent and was replaced for the first time by the Greens as the second strongest party. At the state elections in Bremen, she also gave up her leading position to the CDU after 73 years.

Following the announced resignation of Nahles, the CDU leadership has called on its own party to exercise prudence. All members of the CDU should demonstrate their willingness to continue to live up to the government’s mandate. The CDU leadership will discuss the next steps this afternoon before the summit meeting begins.

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