The members of Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) have unexpectedly voted for a more left-leaning leadership, casting doubt on the future of the coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU alliance.
The designated SPD co-heads, Norbert Walter-Borjans and Saskia Esken, have stressed repeatedly that their party should renegotiate parts of the 2018 coalition treaty, including reopening the 2030 climate package, agreed in late September. The new leadership still has to be approved by the upcoming national party conference.
The designated co-heads of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), Norbert Walter-Borjans and Saskia Esken, have called for changes to the government’s approach to climate action, setting the scene for difficult talks with conservative government partner CDU/CSU that may ultimately end the already shaky coalition.
“We couldn’t explain to anybody – especially the young generation – if we just sat back after having agreed the climate package and said ‘we’re done’ for this legislative period,” Walter-Borjans told the public broadcaster ARD after his election. “We need more effective climate action measures.”
The SPD base unexpectedly voted for the two members of the party’s left wing to become its first-ever leadership duo, further questioning the stability of the coalition with Merkel’s conservatives.