Opinion
05.12.19

Germany's social democrats gamble on new party leaders

"The inward turn of the SPD will give the already rapidly changing party system a further push," writes Anke Hassel in The Guardian.

The choice of little-known candidates Norbert Walter-Borjans and Saskia Esken to head Germany’s centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) is a "radical statement" and marks a significant turning point in German politics, writes Anke Hassel in an opinion piece in The Guardian.

The duo beat finance minister Olaf Scholz and runnning mate Klara Geywitz by 53% to 45% in a vote of SPD members. The fallout will be felt not just by the SPD but also in the government's grand coalition, of which the SPD is a member. The party landscape in Germany is also changing quickly. 

"The inward turn of the SPD will give the already rapidly changing party system a further push. Both the CDU and SPD have lost dramatically during recent European and regional elections. The winners are the Green party and the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD)," writes Hassel."Unless it manages to get both sides of the party out of the trenches and to take on new challenges with all its remaining strength, the SPD runs the risk of being swept away by new political dynamics."

Read Anke Hassel's full opinion piece from 5 December in the Guardian.

Read more about Anke Hassel