Social Democratic Party of Germany

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Social Democratic Party of Germany

Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands
Leader Malu Dreyer
Manuela Schwesig
Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel
General Secretary Lars Klingbeil
Deputy Leaders
Founded23 May 1863(156 years ago) (1863-05-23)
Merger of ADAV and SDAP
Headquarters Willy-Brandt-Haus D-10911 Berlin, Germany
Newspaper Vorwärts
Student wing
Youth wing Jusos
Women's wingAssociation of Social Democratic Women
Membership (December 2018)Decrease2.svg 437,754 [1]
Political position Centre-left [7]
European affiliation Party of European Socialists
International affiliation Progressive Alliance
European Parliament group Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
Colours     Red
152 / 709
21 / 69
State Parliaments
489 / 1,874
European Parliament
16 / 96
Ministers-president of states
7 / 16
Party flag
Flag of the Social Democratic Party of Germany.svg

The Social Democratic Party of Germany (German : Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, SPD; [zoˈtsi̯aːldemoˌkʁaːtɪʃə paɐ̯ˌtaɪ ˈdɔʏtʃlants] ), is a social-democratic [2] [3] [4] [5] political party in Germany.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol in Italy, the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.


Led by Andrea Nahles from 2018 to 2019, the party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in Germany along with the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). The Social Democrats have governed at the federal level in Germany as part of a grand coalition with the CDU and the Christian Social Union (CSU) since December 2013 following the results of the 2013 and 2017 federal elections. The party participates in 11 state governments and 7 of them are governed by SPD Minister-Presidents.

Andrea Nahles German politician

Andrea Maria Nahles is a German politician who served as Leader of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) from April 2018 until June 2019 and the leader of the SPD in the Bundestag from September 2017 until June 2019. She served as a Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs from 2013 to 2017 and SPD Youth leader. She is known within the party for criticising Gerhard Schröder's Agenda 2010. In June 2019 in the aftermath of the SPD's result in the 2019 European elections, she announced her resignation as leader of the SPD and as parliamentary leader of the SPD. For the transition period until a new SPD-leader is voted in, Manuela Schwesig, Malu Dreyer and Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel act as her successors.

A major party is a political party that holds substantial influence in a country's politics, standing in contrast to a minor party. It should not be confused with majority party.

Christian Democratic Union of Germany political party in Germany

The Christian Democratic Union of Germany is a Christian-democratic, liberal-conservative political party in Germany. It is the major catch-all party of the centre-right in German politics. The CDU forms the CDU/CSU grouping, also known as the Union, in the Bundestag with its Bavarian counterpart the Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU). Founded in 1945 as an interdenominational Christian party, the CDU effectively replaced the pre-war Catholic Centre Party, but also included politicians of other, liberal and conservative backgrounds. The party therefore claims to represent "Christian-social, liberal and conservative" elements.

The SPD is a member of the Party of European Socialists and initiated the founding of the international Progressive Alliance for social-democratic parties on 22 May 2013 [8] [9] [10] after criticising the Socialist International for its acceptance of authoritarian parties. Established in 1863, the SPD is by far the oldest existent political party represented in the German Parliament and was one of the first Marxist-influenced parties in the world.

Party of European Socialists Social-democratic political party at European level

The Party of European Socialists (PES) is a social-democratic European political party.

Progressive Alliance political international of political parties and organisations

The Progressive Alliance (PA) is a political international of social-democratic, socialist and progressive political parties and organisations founded on 22 May 2013 in Leipzig, Germany. The alliance was formed as an alternative to the existing Socialist International, of which many of its member parties are former or current members. The Progressive Alliance claims 140 participants from around the world.

Socialist International Political international

The Socialist International (SI) is a worldwide organisation of political parties which seek to establish democratic socialism. It consists mostly of democratic socialist, social-democratic and labour political parties and other organisations.


SPD membership statistics (in thousands) since 1945 SPD Mitgliederentwicklung.svg
SPD membership statistics (in thousands) since 1945

The General German Workers' Association (Allgemeiner Deutscher Arbeiterverein, ADAV) founded in 1863 and the Social Democratic Workers' Party (Sozialdemokratische Arbeiterpartei Deutschlands, SDAP) founded in 1869 later merged in 1875 under the name Socialist Workers' Party of Germany (Sozialistische Arbeiterpartei Deutschlands, SAPD). From 1878 to 1890 the Anti-Socialist Laws banned any grouping or meeting that aimed at spreading socialist principles, but the party still gained support in elections. In 1890, when the ban was lifted and it could again present electoral lists, the party adopted its current name. In the years leading up to World War I (1914–1918) the party remained ideologically radical in official principle, although many party officials tended to moderation in everyday politics. In the 1912 German federal election the SDP claimed not only the most votes but also the most Reichstag seats of any German party.

The General German Workers' Association was a German political party founded on 23 May 1863 in Leipzig, Kingdom of Saxony by Ferdinand Lassalle.

The Social Democratic Workers' Party of Germany was a Marxist socialist political party in the North German Confederation during the period of unification. Founded in Eisenach in 1869, the SDAP endured through the early years of the German Empire. Often termed the Eisenachers, the SDAP was one of the first political organizations established among the nascent German labor unions of the 19th century. It officially existed under the name SDAP for only six years (1869–1875), but through name changes and political partnerships its lineage can be traced to the present-day Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD).

Anti-Socialist Laws Law of german Empire

The Anti-Socialist Laws or Socialist Laws were a series of acts, the first of which was passed on October 19, 1878 by the German Reichstag lasting until March 31, 1881, and extended four times. The legislation was passed after two failed attempts to assassinate Kaiser Wilhelm I by the radicals Max Hödel and Dr. Karl Nobiling; it was meant to curb the growing strength of the Social Democratic Party, which was blamed for influencing the assassins.

Despite the agreement of the Second International to oppose militarism, [11] the Social Democrats supported war in 1914. In response to this and to the Bolshevik Revolution of November 1917 in Russia, members of the left-wing and of the far-left of the SPD formed alternative parties, first the Spartacus League (1914–1919), then the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany (USPD, April 1917–1931) while the more conservative faction became known as the Majority Social Democratic Party of Germany (MSPD, 1917–1922). From 1918 the SPD played an important role in the political system of the Weimar Republic, although it took part in coalition governments only in few years (1918–1921, 1923 and 1928–1930). Adolf Hitler banned the SPD in 1933 under the Enabling Act and the National Socialist régime imprisoned, killed or forced into exile SPD party officials. In exile, the party used the name Sopade . The Social Democrats had been the only party to vote against the Enabling Act, while the Communist Party was blocked from voting.

The Second International (1889–1916), was an organisation of socialist and labour parties formed in Paris on 14 July 1889. At the Paris meeting, delegations from twenty countries participated. The International continued the work of the dissolved First International, though excluding the still-powerful anarcho-syndicalist movement and unions and by 1922 2 April at a major post-World War I conference it began to reorganise into the Labor and Socialist International.


Burgfriedenspolitik —literally "castle peace politics" but more accurately a political policy of "party truce" — is a German term used for the political truce the Social Democratic Party of Germany and the other political parties agreed to during World War I. The trade unions refrained from striking, the SPD voted for war credits in the Reichstag and the parties agreed not to criticize the government and its war. There were several reasons for the Burgfrieden politics: the Social Democrats believed it was their patriotic duty to support the government in war; they were afraid of government repression should they protest against the war; they feared living under an autocratic Russian Czar more than the German constitutional monarchy and its Kaiser; and they hoped to achieve political reforms after the war, including the abrogation of the inequitable three-class voting system, by cooperating with the government.

Spartacus League political party

The Spartacus League was a Marxist revolutionary movement organized in Germany during World War I. The League was named after Spartacus, leader of the largest slave rebellion of the Roman Republic. It was founded by Karl Liebknecht, Rosa Luxemburg, Clara Zetkin, and others. The League subsequently renamed itself the Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands (KPD), joining the Comintern in 1919. Its period of greatest activity was during the German Revolution of 1918, when it sought to incite a revolution by circulating the newspaper Spartacus Letters.

In 1945 the Allied administrations in the Western zones initially allowed the establishment of four parties, which resulted in the (re-)formation of the Christian Democratic Union, the Free Democratic Party, the Communist Party and the SPD. In the Soviet zone of occupation the Soviets forced the Social Democrats to form a common party with the Communists, resulting in the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED). In the Western zones, West Germany's Federal Constitutional Court later banned the Communist Party (1956). Since 1949, the SPD has been one of the two major parties in the Federal Republic of Germany, alongside the Christian Democratic Union. From 1969 to 1982 and from 1998 to 2005, the Chancellors of Germany have been Social Democrats whereas in other years the Chancellors were Christian Democrats. Shortly before the reunification of Germany in 1990, the East German Social Democratic Party (founded in 1989) merged with the West German SPD.

Allied-occupied Germany post-World War II military occupation of Germany

Upon defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, the victorious Allies asserted joint authority and sovereignty over 'Germany as a whole', defined as all territories of the former German Reich west of the Oder–Neisse line, having declared the destruction of Nazi Germany at the death of Adolf Hitler. The four powers divided 'Germany as a whole' into four occupation zones for administrative purposes, under the United States, United Kingdom, France and the Soviet Union respectively; creating what became collectively known as Allied-occupied Germany. This division was ratified at the Potsdam Conference. The four zones were as agreed in February 1945 by the United States, United Kingdom and Soviet Union meeting at the Yalta Conference; setting aside an earlier division into three zones proposed by the London Protocol.

Free Democratic Party (Germany) Political party in Germany

The Free Democratic Party is a liberal and classical liberal political party in Germany. The FDP is led by Christian Lindner.

Soviet occupation zone one of the four Allied occupation zones of Germany created at the end of World War II

The Soviet Occupation Zone was the area of Germany occupied by the Soviet Union at the end of World War II in 1945. On 7 October 1949 the German Democratic Republic (GDR), commonly referred to in English as East Germany, was established in the Soviet Occupation Zone.

Party platform

The SPD was established as a Marxist party in 1875. However, the Social Democrats underwent a major shift in policies reflected in the differences between the Heidelberg Program of 1925 which "called for the transformation of the capitalist system of private ownership of the means of production to social ownership" [12] and the Godesberg Program of 1959 which aimed to broaden its voter base and move its political position toward the centre. [13] After World War II, under the leadership of Kurt Schumacher the SPD re-established itself as a socialist party representing the interests of the working class and the trade unions. However, with the Godesberg Program the party evolved from a socialist working-class party to a modern social-democratic party working within liberal capitalism.

Sigmar Gabriel, Vice Chancellor of Germany (2013-2018) and former chairman of the SPD SPD Bundesparteitag Leipzig 2013 by Moritz Kosinsky 021.jpg
Sigmar Gabriel, Vice Chancellor of Germany (2013–2018) and former chairman of the SPD

The current party platform of the SPD espouses the goal of social democracy, which is seen as a vision of a societal arrangement in which freedom and social justice are paramount. According to the party platform, freedom, justice and social solidarity form the basis of social democracy. The coordinated social market economy should be strengthened and its output should be distributed fairly. The party sees that economic system as necessary in order to ensure the affluence of the entire population. The SPD also tries to protect the society's poor with a welfare state. Concurrently, it advocates a sustainable fiscal policy that does not place a burden on future generations while eradicating budget deficits. In social policy, the Social Democrats stand for civil and political rights in an open society. In foreign policy, the party aims at ensuring global peace by balancing global interests with democratic means, thus European integration is one of the main priorities of the party. The SPD supports economic regulations to limit potential losses for banks and people. They support a common European economic and financial policy and to prevent speculative bubbles as well as environmentally sustainable growth. [14]

Internal factions

The SPD is mostly composed of members belonging to either of the two main wings, namely the Keynesian social democrats and Third Way moderate social democrats belonging to the Seeheimer Kreis. While the more moderate Seeheimer Kreis generally support the Agenda 2010 programs introduced by Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, the Keynesian social democrats continue to defend classical left-wing policies and the welfare state. The classical left-wing of the SPD claims that in recent years the welfare state has been curtailed through reform programs such as the Agenda 2010, Hartz IV and the more economic liberal stance of the SPD, which were endorsed by centrist social democrats.[ citation needed ] As a reaction to the Agenda 2010, there was in 2005 the ascension of an inner party dissident movement which led ultimately to the foundation of the new party Labour and Social Justice – The Electoral Alternative (Arbeit & soziale Gerechtigkeit – Die Wahlalternative, WASG). The WASG was later merged into The Left (Die Linke) in 2007. [15]

Base of support

Social structure

Before World War II, as the main non-revolutionary left-wing party the Social Democrats fared best among non-Catholic workers as well as intellectuals favouring social progressive causes and increased economic equality. Led by Kurt Schumacher after World War II, the SPD initially opposed both the social market economy and Konrad Adenauer's drive towards Western integration fiercely, but after Schumacher's death it accepted the social market economy and Germany's position in the Western alliance in order to appeal to a broader range of voters. It still remains associated with the economic causes of unionised employees and working class voters. In the 1990s, the left and moderate wings of the party drifted apart, culminating in a secession of a significant number of party members which later joined the socialist party WASG, which later merged into The Left (Die Linke).

Geographic distribution

2017 federal election SPD results Btw17spd.svg
2017 federal election SPD results

Geographically, much of the SPD's current-day support comes from large cities, especially of northern and western Germany and Berlin. The metropolitan area of the Ruhr Area, where coal mining and steel production were once the biggest sources of revenues, have provided a significant base for the SPD in the 20th century. In the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, the SPD has governed without interruption since 1949. In southern Germany, the SPD typically garners less support except in the largest cities. At the 2009 federal election, the party lost its only constituency in the entire state of Bavaria (in Munich). Small town and rural support comes especially from the traditionally Protestant areas of northern Germany and Brandenburg (with notable exceptions such as Western Pomerania where CDU leader Angela Merkel was re-elected in 2005) and a number of university towns. A striking example of the general pattern is the traditionally Catholic Emsland, where the Social Democrats generally gain a low percentage of votes, whereas the Reformed Protestant region of East Frisia directly to the north, with its strong traditional streak of Anti-Catholicism, is one of their strongest constituencies. Further south, the SPD also enjoys solid support in northern Hesse (Hans Eichel was mayor of Kassel, then Hesse's Minister-President and finally Finance Minister in the Schröder administration while Brigitte Zypries served as Justice Minister), parts of Palatinate (Kurt Beck was party leader until 7 September 2008) and the Saarland (political home of one-time candidate for federal chancellor Oskar Lafontaine, defected from the SPD in 2005).

Election results

Election results and governments since 1949 German parliamentary elections diagram de.svg
Election results and governments since 1949

General German elections

The SPD, at times called SAPD, participated in general elections determining the members of parliament. For the elections until 1933, the parliament was called Reichstag, except of the one of 1919 which was called the National Assembly and after 1949 when it was called Bundestag. Note that changes in borders (1871, 1919, 1920, 1949, 1957 and 1990) varied the number of eligible voters whereas electoral laws also changed the ballot system (only constituencies until 1912, only party lists until 1949 and mixed system thereafter), the suffrage (women vote since 1919), the number of seats (fixed or flexible) and the length of the legislative period (three or four years). The list begins after the SPD was formed in 1875, when labour parties unified to only form the SPD (then SAPD, current name since 1890).

Election yearConstituency votesParty list votes% of
overall votes (until 1912)
party list votes (as of 1919)
Overall seats won+/–Government
1877 493,4479.1 (4th)
13 / 397
In opposition
1878 437,1587.6 (5th)
9 / 397
Decrease2.svg 4In opposition
1881 311,9616.1 (7th)
13 / 397
Increase2.svg 4In opposition
1884 549,9909.7 (5th)
24 / 397
Increase2.svg 11In opposition
1887 763,10210.1 (5th)
11 / 397
Decrease2.svg 13In opposition
1890 1,427,32319.7 (1st)
35 / 397
Increase2.svg 24In opposition
1893 1,786,73823.3 (1st)
44 / 397
Increase2.svg 9In opposition
1898 2,107,07627.2 (1st)
56 / 397
Increase2.svg 12In opposition
1903 3,010,77131.7 (1st)
81 / 397
Increase2.svg 25In opposition
1907 3,259,02928.9 (1st)
43 / 397
Decrease2.svg 38In opposition
1912 4,250,39934.8 (1st)
110 / 397
Increase2.svg 67In opposition
In coalition
In coalition
1919 11,509,04837.9 (1st)
165 / 423
Increase2.svg 55In coalition
1920 6,179,99121.9 (1st)
102 / 459
Decrease2.svg 63providing parliamentary support
In coalition
providing parliamentary support
In coalition
In opposition
May 1924 6,008,90520.5 (1st)
100 / 472
Decrease2.svg 2In opposition
December 1924 7,881,04126.0 (1st)
131 / 493
Increase2.svg 31In opposition
providing parliamentary support
In opposition
1928 9,152,97929.8 (1st)
153 / 491
Increase2.svg 22In coalition
1930 8,575,24424.5 (1st)
143 / 577
Decrease2.svg 10In opposition
July 1932 7,959,71221.6 (2nd)
133 / 608
Decrease2.svg 10In opposition
November 1932 7,247,90120.4 (2nd)
121 / 584
Decrease2.svg 12In opposition
March 1933 7,181,62918.3 (2nd)
120 / 667
Decrease2.svg 1In opposition
November 1933 Banned. National Socialist German Workers Party sole legal party.
1936 Banned. National Socialist German Workers Party sole legal party.
1938 Banned. National Socialist German Workers Party sole legal party.
1949 6,934,97529.2 (2nd)
131 / 402
Increase2.svg 11In opposition
1953 8,131,2577,944,94328.8 (2nd)
162 / 509
Increase2.svg 22In opposition
1957 11,975,40011,875,33931.8 (2nd)
181 / 519
Increase2.svg 19In opposition
1961 11,672,05711,427,35536.2 (2nd)
203 / 521
Increase2.svg 22In opposition
1965 12,998,47412,813,18639.3 (2nd)
217 / 518
Increase2.svg 14In coalition
1969 14,402,37414,065,71642.7 (2nd)
237 / 518
Increase2.svg 20In coalition
1972 18,228,23917,175,16945.8 (1st)
242 / 518
Increase2.svg 5In coalition
1976 16,471,32116,099,01942.6 (2nd)
224 / 518
Decrease2.svg 18In coalition
1980 16,808,86116,260,67742.9 (2nd)
228 / 519
Increase2.svg 4In coalition
1983 15,686,03314,865,80738.2 (2nd)
202 / 520
Decrease2.svg 26In opposition
1987 14,787,95314,025,76337.0 (2nd)
193 / 519
Decrease2.svg 9In opposition
1990 16,279,98015,545,36633.5 (2nd)
239 / 662
Increase2.svg 46In opposition
1994 17,966,81317,140,35436.4 (2nd)
252 / 672
Increase2.svg 13In opposition
1998 21,535,89320,181,26940.9 (1st)
298 / 669
Increase2.svg 43In coalition
2002 20,059,96718,484,56038.5 (1st) [16]
251 / 603
Decrease2.svg 47In coalition
2005 18,129,10016,194,66534.2 (2nd)
222 / 614
Decrease2.svg 29In coalition
2009 12,077,4379,988,84323.0 (2nd)
146 / 622
Decrease2.svg 76In opposition
2013 12,835,93311,247,28325.7 (2nd)
193 / 630
Increase2.svg 42In coalition
2017 11,426,6139,538,36720.5 (2nd)
153 / 709
Decrease2.svg 40In coalition

European Parliament

Election yearNo. of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
No. of
overall seats won
1979 11,370,04540.8 (1st)
33 / 81
1984 9,296,41737.4 (2nd)
32 / 81
Decrease2.svg 1
1989 10,525,72837.3 (1st)
30 / 81
Decrease2.svg 2
1994 11,389,69732.2 (1st)
40 / 99
Increase2.svg 10
1999 8,307,08530.7 (2nd)
33 / 99
Decrease2.svg 7
2004 5,547,97121.5 (2nd)
23 / 99
Decrease2.svg 10
2009 5,472,56620.8 (2nd)
23 / 99
Steady2.svg 0
2014 7,999,95527.2 (2nd)
27 / 96
Increase2.svg 4
2019 5,914,95315.8 (3rd)
16 / 96
Decrease2.svg 11

State Parliaments (Länder)

State ParliamentElection yearNo. of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
Baden-Württemberg 2016 679,87212.7 (4th) Decrease2.svg
19 / 138
Decrease2.svg 16Decrease2.svg 4thOpposition
Bavaria 2018 1,317,9429.7 (5th) Decrease2.svg
22 / 205
Decrease2.svg 20Decrease2.svg 5thOpposition
Berlin 2016 352,36921.6 (1st) Decrease2.svg
38 / 160
Decrease2.svg 10Steady2.svg 1stSPD–Left–Greens
Brandenburg 2014 315,17731.9 (1st) Decrease2.svg
30 / 88
Decrease2.svg 1Steady2.svg 1stSPD–Left
Bremen 2019 365,31524.9 (2nd) Decrease2.svg
23 / 84
Decrease2.svg 7Decrease2.svg 2ndSPD–Greens
Hamburg 2015 1,611,27445.6 (1st) Decrease2.svg
58 / 121
Decrease2.svg 4Steady2.svg 1stSPD–Greens
Hesse 2018 570,16619.8 (3rd) Decrease2.svg
29 / 137
Decrease2.svg 8Decrease2.svg 3rdOpposition
Lower Saxony 2017 1,413,99036.9 (1st) Increase2.svg
55 / 137
Increase2.svg 6Increase2.svg 1stSPD–CDU
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern 2016 246,39330.6 (1st) Decrease2.svg
28 / 71
Decrease2.svg 2Steady2.svg 1stSPD–CDU
North Rhine-Westphalia 2017 2,649,20531.2 (2nd) Decrease2.svg
69 / 199
Decrease2.svg 30Decrease2.svg 2ndOpposition
Rhineland-Palatinate 2016 771,84836.2 (1st) Increase2.svg
39 / 101
Decrease2.svg 3Steady2.svg 1stSPD–FDP–Greens
Saarland 2017 157,84129.6 (2nd) Decrease2.svg
17 / 51
Steady2.svg 0Steady2.svg 2ndCDU–SPD
Saxony 2014 202,37412.4 (3rd) Increase2.svg
18 / 126
Increase2.svg 4Steady2.svg 3rdCDU–SPD
Saxony-Anhalt 2016 119,37710.6 (4th) Decrease2.svg
11 / 87
Decrease2.svg 15Decrease2.svg 4thCDU–SPD–Greens
Schleswig-Holstein 2017 400,63527.2 (2nd) Decrease2.svg
21 / 73
Decrease2.svg 1Steady2.svg 2ndOpposition
Thuringia 2014 116,88912.4 (3rd) Decrease2.svg
12 / 91
Decrease2.svg 6Steady2.svg 3rdLeft–SPD–Greens

Leadership of the Social Democratic Party

The party is led by the Leader of the Social Democratic Party. They are supported by six Deputy Leaders and the party executive.

The previous leader was Andrea Nahles. She announced her pending resignation on 2 June 2019. The current Deputy Leaders are Manuela Schwesig, Ralf Stegner, Olaf Scholz, Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel, Natascha Kohnen and Maria Luise "Malu" Dreyer. Dreyer, Schwesig, and Schäfer-Gümbel are currently serving as acting leaders of the party.

As Germany is a federal republic, each of Germany's states have their own SPD party at the state level.

The current leaders of the SPD state parties are the following:

Baden-Württemberg Andreas Stoch
19 / 143
In opposition
Bavaria Natascha Kohnen
22 / 205
In opposition
Berlin Michael Müller
38 / 160
In coalition
Brandenburg Dietmar Woidke
30 / 88
In coalition
Bremen Sascha Karolin Aulepp
30 / 83
In coalition
Hamburg Melanie Leonhard
58 / 121
In coalition
Hesse Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel
37 / 110
In opposition
Lower Saxony Stephan Weil
55 / 137
In coalition
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Manuela Schwesig
26 / 71
In coalition
North Rhine-Westphalia Sebastian Hartmann
69 / 199
In opposition
Rhineland-Palatinate Roger Lewentz
39 / 101
In coalition
Saarland Anke Rehlinger
17 / 51
In coalition
Saxony Martin Dulig
18 / 126
In coalition
Saxony-Anhalt Burkhard Lischka
11 / 87
In coalition
Schleswig-Holstein Serpil Midyatli
21 / 73
In opposition
Thuringia Wolfgang Tiefensee
13 / 91
In coalition

See also

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Traffic light coalition

Traffic light coalition is a term originating in German politics where it describes a coalition government of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), the Free Democratic Party (FDP), and the Greens. It arises from the fact that the parties' traditional colours, respectively red, yellow, and green, resemble the normal colour sequence of a traffic light (Ampel). It has subsequently been used to describe similar coalitions between social democrats, liberals, and greens in other countries.

2009 German federal election

Federal elections took place on 27 September 2009 to elect the members of the 17th Bundestag (parliament) of Germany. Preliminary results showed that the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), and the Free Democratic Party (FDP) won the election, and the three parties announced their intention to form a new centre-right government with Angela Merkel as Chancellor. Their main opponent, Frank-Walter Steinmeier's Social Democratic Party (SPD), conceded defeat. The Christian Democrats previously governed in coalition with the FDP in most of the 1949–1966 governments of Konrad Adenauer and Ludwig Erhard and the 1982–1998 governments of Helmut Kohl.

The Left (Germany) political party in Germany

The Left, also commonly referred to as the Left Party, is a democratic socialist political party in Germany. It is considered to be left-wing populist by some researchers. The party was founded in 2007 as the result of the merger of the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) and the Electoral Alternative for Labour and Social Justice (WASG). Through the PDS, the party is the direct descendant of the ruling party of the former East Germany (GDR), the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED).

Social democracy is a political, social and economic philosophy that supports economic and social interventions to promote social justice within the framework of a liberal democratic polity and a capitalist mixed economy. The protocols and norms used to accomplish this involve a commitment to representative and participatory democracy, measures for income redistribution and regulation of the economy in the general interest and welfare state provisions. In this way, social democracy aims to create the conditions for capitalism to lead to greater democratic, egalitarian and solidaristic outcomes. Due to longstanding governance by social democratic parties during the post-war consensus and their influence on socioeconomic policy in the Nordic countries, social democracy has become associated in policy circles with the Nordic model in the latter part of the 20th century.

The Seeheimer Kreis is an official internal grouping in the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). The group describes itself as "undogmatic and pragmatic" and generally takes moderately liberal economic positions.

History of the Social Democratic Party of Germany aspect of history

The foundation of the Social Democratic Party of Germany can be traced back to the 1860s, and for much of the 20th and 21st centuries it has represented the centre-left in German politics. The SPD has been the ruling party at several points, first under Friedrich Ebert in 1918. The party was outlawed in Nazi Germany but returned to government in 1969 with Willy Brandt. Meanwhile, the East German branch of the SPD was merged with the ruling KPD. In the modern Federal Republic of Germany, the SPD are the second largest party after the CDU and are currently in government as a junior coalition partner to Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU. The SPD last held the chancellorship under Gerhard Schröder from 1998 to 2005.

Manuela Schwesig German politician (SPD), Minister President of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

Manuela Schwesig is a German politician of the Social Democratic Party serving as the fifth Minister‐President of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern since 4 July 2017. She is the first woman to serve as head of government of this state. Previously she served as Federal Minister of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth from 2013 to 2017.

Carsten Schneider is a German social democratic politician, who has been a member of the German Parliament since 1998. Since 2017, he has been serving as First Secretary of his party's parliamentary group, in this position assisting the group's chairwoman Andrea Nahles.


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  11. In, for example, the International Socialist Congress, Stuttgart 1907.
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  13. Cooper, Alice Holmes. Paradoxes of Peace: German Peace Movements since 1945. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Press. p. 85.
  14. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 October 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2012.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
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Further reading