North Rhine-Westphalia’s battered SPD has chosen the third party since its election defeat in 2017. Previous party leader Thomas Kutschaty would lead the party out of the crisis.
Düsseldorf (dpa) – The SPD North Rhine-Westphalian has elected group chairman Thomas Kutschaty as the new state chairman. Kutschaty (52) received 400 of the 442 valid votes in the electronic vote at the digital party congress on Saturday.
This corresponded to an approval rate of 90.5 percent. 33 deputies voted against, 9 abstained. The decision has yet to be formally confirmed by letter.
Subsequently, the SPD co-chair, Saskia Esken Kutschaty, congratulated her on the election. He will now “grasp the future of the SPD and the country by the horns”.
The Essen lawyer and former Minister of Justice NRW was the only candidate. Country chief Sebastian Hartmann, who has been in office since 2018, had not fled after a month of power struggle. Kutschaty had already been nominated by the SPD state administrator as a top candidate for the NRW state elections in 2022.
Kutschaty called for a new departure from the state party. Research values of currently 17 percent would have hit the NRW-SPD “deeply”. But the party is stronger than many thought. “If we are enthusiastic ourselves, we can also inspire other people in the country,” said the 52-year-old. In an additional speech, Federal Finance Minister and SPD candidate for Chancellor Olaf Scholz Kutschaty also pledged support.
After Michael Groschek and Bundestag member Hartmann, Kutschaty is already the third party leader of the NRW-SPD since the defeat in the 2017 state elections and the resignation of Hannelore Kraft. In the regional association with the largest number of members, the number has now fallen to 97,300 members. The SPD in North Rhine-Westphalia, like the federal SPD, is low in a survey. According to a WDR poll in late January, the SPD in North Rhine-Westphalia stood at just 17 percent, while the Greens were the second-strongest force behind the CDU at 24 percent.
Kutschaty had won the SPD group chairmanship in the state parliament in April 2018. With his election as head of country, the party and political group chairmanship are once again in one hand.
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