The previous Secretary General Lars Klingbeil and party leader Saskia Esken want to lead the SPD together in the future. Both declared this on Monday in an SPD presidium meeting. The presidium accepted the proposal. Previously, the image reported about it.
The 43-year-old Klingbeil was already considered a promising candidate before his announcement and can have justified hopes. He could form a leadership duo with incumbent chairwoman Saskia Esken, 60. Their co-party leader Norbert Walter-Borjans, 69, announced a few days ago that he did not want to run again. Esken himself wants to continue.
In an interview in the ARD morning magazine, Esken said on Monday that she could well imagine forming a dual leadership with Lars Klingbeil in the future. She has been working closely with the SPD general secretary for many years, said Esken. The 43-year-old is an “architect of the renewal of the SPD” and she values him very much. “In so far this is a constellation that I can very well imagine.”
It is questionable whether other prominent SPD politicians want to run. The party said on Thursday that all upcoming personnel decisions would be made “without a fight”. Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania’s head of government Manuela Schwesig was traded as a possible applicant. But because Esken wants to stay in office, Schwesig’s candidacy for a fight would come as a surprise.
Esken and Walter-Borjans had prevailed against several other candidate teams in a membership decision in 2019. Klingbeil did not start because he had not found a partner to apply as a duo. But he steered the party through the long search for a chairman.
As general secretary, Klingbeil held the SPD together and mediated in conflicts between Scholz, Esken and Walter-Borjans. That year, Klingbeil was responsible for the party’s election campaign management and successfully led the Social Democrats to victory with Chancellor candidate Scholz.
A team made up of Esken and Klingbeil would not only mean an SPD leadership with equal representation, but also cover different generations and wings of the party. Klingbeil belongs to the more conservative “Seeheimer Kreis”, while Esken was supported by the left wing of the party when she was elected two years ago.