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Germany’s SPD plans 23 regional conferences for party leadership contest

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The candidates to lead Germany’s centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) will on Tuesday present themselves to the party’s grassroots at 23 regional conferences.

According to the acting Chairman of SPD, Thorsten Schaefer-Guembel, the event, which is the first of its kind, is scheduled for Sept. 4, in the western city of Saarbruecken, with the last on Oct. 12, in the southern metropolis of Munich.

Schaefer-Guembel said: “There will be up to three meetings in the large state associations to ensure that as many members as possible can form their own personal opinion.

“So far, about one fifth of the SPD membership has registered for the online vote on the party presidency, according to Schaefer-Guembel.

“Our goal is to break the 100,000 mark.“

SPD currently has around 426,000 members, who were able to vote either online or by postal ballot for the party’s executive.

At the beginning of December a party conference was expected to announce the final decisions.

“Following the resignation of Andrea Nahles as leader after the party’s worst showing in European elections in May, Europe Minister of State Michael Roth and North Rhine-Westphalia lawmaker Christina Kampmann put themselves forward to lead the party.

“In addition, Bundestag members Karl Lauterbach, Nina Scheer, the mayors of Flensburg and Bautzen, Simone Lange, Alexander Ahrens, all threw their hats in the ring.

“But these second-tier candidates still lack the necessary minimum support from the party,“he said.

However, the vice president of the SPD’s economic forum, Robert Maier, has also announced his candidacy.

The application deadline is Sept. 1. (dpa/NAN)

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