The idea of having the SPD chairman elected directly by party members in the future is by no means a foregone conclusion, according to faction leader andrea nahles.
"All this is still undecided. It is an offer of discussion. I think that’s important and right, too," nahles said in berlin. Many members wished that.
But there is no stipulation that more grassroots participation should also include the question of the party presidency. "We don’t have any concrete statement in the lead proposal as to how this should now be structured," said nahles. It is conceivable to let the members vote on the candidate for chancellor if there are several candidates. This is already possible under the SPD constitution. The debate will now be held until the party conference in early december, when a proposal will be made, says nahles.
SPD leader martin schulz presented a 16-page strategy paper on a new start for the SPD after the election debacle the day before. He was open to the wish of many members to have a greater say in personnel decisions as well. But that will only be made possible in 2019 – and not at the party conference, where schulz is running for the SPD presidency again.
Party deputy thorsten schafer-gumbel does not think much of the proposal. He was not convinced by the proposal, the hessian state leader told deutschlandfunk radio. Either the entire party leadership would be elected in a primary election or, as in the past, through the delegate principle.
According to nahles, the SPD must become more down-to-earth. "For many citizens, the SPD seems aloof and too focused on power options," according to an analysis of the election defeat available to the german press agency, which nahles presented to the parliamentary group as a basis for discussion. The former labor minister has formulated six questions on how the SPD can regain its credibility and hold its own in the opposition in the six-party bundestag.
Social democracy must quickly open itself up to people who prefer to be involved in associations or non-governmental organizations rather than in parties. "We are not currently seen by many as the party that is intellectually and politically exciting, that negotiates the big questions of our time for and with society," nahles states.
The SPD needs to be clear about what it wants and what it stands for: "governing for three and a half years or doing opposition work and then switching to campaign mode doesn’t work. The SPD must become a place where the exciting debates are held, continuously and forward-looking."