Social Democratic Party of Germany

Last updated

Social Democratic Party of Germany
Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands
General Secretary Kevin Kühnert
Deputy Leaders
Founded27 May 1875;148 years ago (1875-05-27)
Merger of
Headquarters Willy-Brandt-Haus D-10911 Berlin
Newspaper Vorwärts
Student wing Juso-Hochschulgruppen
Youth wing Young Socialists in the SPD
Women's wingAssociation of Social Democratic Women
LGBT+ wingSPDqueer
Paramilitary wing Reichsbanner Schwarz-Rot-Gold (1924–33)
Membership (2024)Decrease2.svg 365,190 [1]
Ideology Social democracy
Political position Centre-left
European affiliation Party of European Socialists
International affiliation Progressive Alliance
European Parliament group Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
Colours  Red
207 / 736
19 / 69
State parliaments
455 / 1,894
European Parliament
16 / 96
Heads of State Governments
7 / 16
Party flag
Flag of the Social Democratic Party of Germany.svg
Website OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg

The Social Democratic Party of Germany (German: Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, [zoˈtsi̯aːldemoˌkʁaːtɪʃəpaʁˌtaɪˈdɔʏtʃlants] ; SPD, German pronunciation: [ɛspeːˈdeː] ) is a centre-left social democratic [2] [3] [4] political party in Germany. It is one of the major parties of contemporary Germany.


Saskia Esken has been the party's leader since the 2019 leadership election together with Lars Klingbeil, who joined her in December 2021. After Olaf Scholz was elected chancellor in 2021, the SPD became the leading party of the federal government, which the SPD formed with the Greens and the Free Democratic Party, after the 2021 federal election. The SPD is a member of 11 of the 16 German state governments and is a leading partner in seven of them.

The SPD was established in 1863. It was one of the earliest Marxist-influenced parties in the world. From the 1890s through the early 20th century, the SPD was Europe's largest Marxist party, and the most popular political party in Germany. [5] During the First World War, the party split between a pro-war mainstream and the anti-war Independent Social Democratic Party, of which some members went on to form the Communist Party of Germany (KPD). The SPD played a leading role in the German Revolution of 1918–1919 and in the foundation of the Weimar Republic. SPD politician Friedrich Ebert served as the first president of Germany.

After the rise of the Nazi Party to power, the SPD was the only party present in the Reichstag to vote against the Enabling Act of 1933; the SPD was subsequently banned, and operated in exile as the Sopade. After the Second World War, the SPD was re-established. In East Germany, it merged with the KPD under duress to form the Socialist Unity Party of Germany. In West Germany, the SPD became one of two major parties alongside the CDU/CSU. In the Godesberg Program of 1959, the SPD dropped its commitment to Marxism, becoming a big tent party of the centre-left. The SPD led the federal government from 1969 to 1982, 1998 to 2005 and again since 2021. It served as a junior partner to a CDU/CSU led government from 1966 to 1969, 2005 to 2009 and from 2013 to 2021. During Scholz's chancellorship, the party has set out principles of a new German defence policy in the Zeitenwende speech. [6] During the Israel–Hamas war, it authorized substantial German military and medical aid to Israel, and denounced the actions of Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups.

The SPD holds pro-EU stances and is a member of the Party of European Socialists and sits with the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats group in the European Parliament. [7] [8] With 16 MEPs, it is the third largest party in the group. The SPD was a founding member of the Socialist International, but the party left in 2013 after criticising its acceptance of parties they consider to be violating human rights. [9] The SPD subsequently founded the Progressive Alliance [10] [11] [12] and was joined by numerous other parties around the world. Previously, the SPD was a founding member of both the Second International and the Labour and Socialist International.


The Social Democratic Party has its origins in the General German Workers' Association, founded in 1863, and the Social Democratic Workers' Party, founded in 1869. The two groups merged in 1875 to create the Socialist Workers' Party of Germany  [ de ] (German: Sozialistische Arbeiterpartei Deutschlands). From 1878 to 1890, the Anti-Socialist Laws banned any group that aimed at spreading socialist principles, but the party still gained support in elections. In 1890, when the ban was lifted, the party adopted its current name. The SPD was the largest Marxist party in Europe and consistently the most popular party in German federal elections from 1890 onward, although it was surpassed by other parties in terms of seats won in the Reichstag due to the electoral system. [13]

SPD members in Reichstag 1889. Sitting from left to right: Georg Schumacher, Friedrich Harm, August Bebel, Heinrich Meister and Karl Frohme. Standing: Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Dietz, August Kuhn, Wilhelm Liebknecht, Karl Grillenberger, and Paul Singer. Reichstagsfraktion1889.jpg
SPD members in Reichstag 1889. Sitting from left to right: Georg Schumacher, Friedrich Harm, August Bebel, Heinrich Meister and Karl Frohme. Standing: Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Dietz, August Kühn, Wilhelm Liebknecht, Karl Grillenberger, and Paul Singer.

In the years leading up to World War I, the SPD remained radical in principle, but moderate in reality. According to Roger Eatwell and Anthony Wright, the SPD became a party of reform, with social democracy representing "a party that strives after the socialist transformation of society by the means of democratic and economic reforms". They emphasise this development as central to understanding 20th-century social democracy, of which the SPD was a major influence. [14] In the 1912 federal election, the SPD won 34.8 per cent of votes and became the largest party in the Reichstag with 110 seats, although it was still excluded from government. [15] Despite the Second International's agreement to oppose militarism, [16] the SPD supported the German war effort and adopted a policy, known as Burgfriedenspolitik , of refraining from calling strikes or criticising the government. [17] [18] Internal opposition to the policy grew throughout the war. Anti-war members were expelled in 1916 and 1917, leading to the formation of the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany (USPD). [19] The SPD played a key role in the German Revolution of 1918–1919. On 9 November 1918, leading SPD member Friedrich Ebert was designated chancellor and fellow Social Democrat Philipp Scheidemann, on his own authority, proclaimed Germany a republic. [20] The government introduced a large number of reforms in the following months, introducing various civil liberties and labor rights. [21] The SPD government, committed to parliamentary liberal democracy, used military force against more radical communist groups, leading to a permanent split between the SPD and the USPD, as well as the Spartacist League which would go on to form the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) and integrate a majority of USPD members as well. [22] [23] The SPD was the largest party during the first 13 years of the new Weimar Republic. It decisively won the 1919 federal election with 37.9 per cent of votes, and Ebert became the first president in February. [24] The position of chancellor was held by Social Democrats until the 1920 federal election, when the SPD lost a substantial portion of its support, falling to 22 per cent of votes. After this, the SPD yielded the chancellery to other parties, although it remained part of the government until 1924. Ebert died in 1925 and was succeeded by conservative Paul von Hindenburg. After making gains in the 1928 federal election, the SPD's Hermann Müller became chancellor. [25]

A widely publicized SPD election poster from 1932, with the Three Arrows symbol representing resistance against reactionary conservatism, Nazism and Communism, and with the slogan "Against Papen, Hitler, Thalmann" Three Arrows election poster of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, 1932 - Gegen Papen, Hitler, Thalmann.jpg
A widely publicized SPD election poster from 1932, with the Three Arrows symbol representing resistance against reactionary conservatism, Nazism and Communism, and with the slogan "Against Papen, Hitler, Thälmann"

As Germany was struck hard by the Great Depression, and unable to negotiate an effective response to the crisis, Müller resigned in 1930. The SPD was sidelined as the Nazi Party gained popularity and conservatives dominated the government, assisted by Hindenburg's frequent use of emergency powers. The Reichsbanner Schwarz-Rot-Gold , the SPD's paramilitary wing, was frequently involved in violent confrontations with the Nazi Sturmabteilung . [26] The Nazis overtook the SPD as the largest party in July 1932 and Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor in January 1933. Of the parties present in the Reichstag during the passage of the Enabling Act of 1933, the SPD was the only one to vote against; most of the communist deputies had been arrested ahead of the vote. [27] The SPD was banned in June. Many members were subsequently imprisoned and killed by the Nazi government while others fled the country. The party-in-exile was called Sopade. [28] After the end of World War II, the re-establishment of the SPD was permitted in the Western occupation zones in 1945. In the Soviet occupation zone, the SPD was forcibly merged with the KPD in 1946 to form the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED). The SED was the ruling party of East Germany until 1989. [29] In West Germany, the SPD became one of two major parties, alongside the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). In the inaugural 1949 federal election, it placed second with 29.2 per cent of votes and led the opposition to the CDU government. [30] In its 1959 Godesberg Program, the party dropped its commitment to Marxism and sought to appeal to middle class voters, becoming a big tent party of the centre-left. [31]

SPD membership statistics (in thousands) since 1945. Despite heavy losses since 1990, the SPD is still the largest party in Germany, ahead of the CDU. SPD Mitgliederentwicklung.svg
SPD membership statistics (in thousands) since 1945. Despite heavy losses since 1990, the SPD is still the largest party in Germany, ahead of the CDU.

Although strongly leftist, the SPD was willing to compromise. Only through its support did the governing CDU/CSU pass a denazification law that its coalition partner the Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the far-right German Party voted against. [32] At the same time, the SPD opposed the pro-West integration of West Germany because they believed that made a re-unification of Germany impossible. Austria could have become a sovereign neutral state in 1956, but a 1952 Soviet suggestion for Germans to form a neutral state was ignored by the CDU/CSU–FDP government. After 17 years in opposition, the SPD became the junior partner in a grand coalition with the CDU/CSU which lasted from 1966 to 1969. After the 1969 federal election, the SPD's Willy Brandt became chancellor in a coalition with the liberal Free Democratic Party. His government sought to normalise relations with East Germany and the Eastern Bloc, a policy known as Ostpolitik . [33] The party achieved its best ever result of 45.8 per cent in 1972, one of only three occasions in which it formed the largest Bundestag faction. [34] After Brandt's resignation in 1974, his successor Helmut Schmidt served as chancellor until 1982, when the SPD returned to opposition. [35]

During the Peaceful Revolution in East Germany, the East German SPD was refounded. It merged with the West German party in 1990, shortly before German reunification. [36] The SPD returned to government under Gerhard Schröder after the 1998 federal election in a coalition with The Greens. [37] This government was re-elected in 2002 but defeated in 2005. [38] The SPD then became junior partner of a grand coalition with the CDU/CSU until 2009. After a term in opposition, they again served as junior partner to the CDU/CSU after the 2013 federal election. [39] This arrangement was renewed after the 2017 federal election. [40] SPD narrowly won against the CDU/CSU in the September 2021 federal election, becoming the biggest party in the federal parliament (Bundestag). [41] Social Democrat Olaf Scholz became the new chancellor in December 2021, and formed a coalition government with the Green Party and the Free Democrats. [42]

Ideology and platform

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 SPD was established as a Marxist party in 1875. It 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" [43] and the Godesberg Program of 1959 which aimed to broaden the party's voter base and to move its political position toward the political centre. [44] After World War II, the SPD was re-formed in West Germany after being banned by the Nazi regime; in East Germany, it merged with the Communist Party of Germany to form the ruling Socialist Unity Party of Germany. Under the chairmanship of Kurt Schumacher, the SPD was a socialist party representing the interests of the working class and of trade unions. With the 1959 Godesberg Program, the party evolved from a socialist working-class party to a modern social-democratic party working within democratic capitalism. The SPD's Hamburg Programme, adopted in 2007, describes democratic socialism as "the vision of a free and fair society in solidarity", which requires "a structure in economy, state and society guaranteeing civil, political, social and economic basic rights for all people living a life without exploitation, suppression and violence, hence in social and human security", the realization of which is emphasized as a "permanent task". Social democracy serves as the "principle of our actions". [45]

The party platform of the SPD espouses the goal of democratic socialism, which it envisions as a societal arrangement in which freedom and social justice are paramount. According to the party platform, political freedom, justice and social solidarity form the basis of social democracy.

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 classical social democrats continue to defend classical left-wing policies and the welfare state. The Keynesian 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. [51] [52] In reaction to Agenda 2010, an inner-party dissident movement developed, leading to the foundation of the new party Labour and Social Justice – The Electoral Alternative (Arbeit & soziale Gerechtigkeit – Die Wahlalternative, WASG) in 2005, which later merged into The Left (Die Linke) in 2007. [53] The Parlamentarische Linke comprises left-wing SPD Members of the German Bundestag.


Social structure

Prior to 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; after Schumacher's death, however, 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

2021 federal election SPD results SPD Atlas zur Bundestagswahl 2021 in Deutschland.svg
2021 federal election SPD results

Much of the SPD's current-day support comes from large cities, especially northern and western Germany and Berlin. As of 2019, 10 of the country's 15 biggest cities are led by SPD mayors. The metropolitan Ruhr Area, where coal mining and steel production were once the main industries, have provided a significant base for the SPD in the 20th century. In the city of Bremen, the SPD has continuously governed 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 previous exceptions such as Western Pomerania where CDU leader Angela Merkel held her constituency, which the SPD gained in 2021) 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, parts of Palatinate and the Saarland. The social democrats are weakest in the south-eastern states of Bavaria, Saxony and Thuringia, where the party's percentage of votes dropped to single-digit figures in the 2018 and 2019 elections. In 2021, it significantly increased its vote share in the states of the former east.

Post-war leadership

The federal leader is supported by six Deputy Leaders and the party executive. As of 2021, the leaders are Saskia Esken and Norbert Walter-Borjans. The previous leader was Andrea Nahles, who announced her pending resignation on 2 June 2019. As Germany is a federal republic, each of Germany's states have their own SPD party at the state level.


Baden-Württemberg Andreas Stoch
19 / 143
Bavaria Natascha Kohnen
17 / 203
Berlin Franziska Giffey &
Raed Saleh
38 / 160
Brandenburg Dietmar Woidke
25 / 88
Bremen Sascha Karolin Aulepp
30 / 83
Hamburg Melanie Leonhard
51 / 121
Hesse Nancy Faeser
23 / 133
Lower Saxony Stephan Weil
55 / 137
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Manuela Schwesig
34 / 71
North Rhine-Westphalia Thomas Kutschaty
56 / 195
Rhineland-Palatinate Roger Lewentz
39 / 101
Saarland Anke Rehlinger
29 / 51
Saxony Martin Dulig
18 / 126
Saxony-Anhalt Juliane Kleemann  [ de ] &
Andreas Schmidt  [ de ]
11 / 87
Schleswig-Holstein Serpil Midyatli
21 / 73
Thuringia Georg Maier  [ de ]
13 / 91

Election results

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

The SPD, at times called SAPD, took part in general elections determining the composition of parliament. For elections up until 1933, the parliament was called the Reichstag, except for the one of 1919 which was called the National Assembly and since 1949 the parliament is 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 a mixed system thereafter), the suffrage (women vote since 1919; minimum active voting age was 25 till 1918, 20 till 1946, 21 till 1972 and 18 since), 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 form the SPD (then SAPD, current name since 1890).

Imperial Germany (Reichstag)

ElectionVotes %Seats+/–Status
1877 493,4479.1 (#4)
13 / 397
1878 437,1587.6 (#5)
9 / 397
Decrease2.svg 4Opposition
1881 311,9616.1 (#7)
13 / 397
Increase2.svg 4Opposition
1884 549,9909.7 (#5)
24 / 397
Increase2.svg 11Opposition
1887 763,10210.1 (#5)
11 / 397
Decrease2.svg 13Opposition
1890 1,427,32319.7 (#1)
35 / 397
Increase2.svg 24Opposition
1893 1,786,73823.3 (#1)
44 / 397
Increase2.svg 9Opposition
1898 2,107,07627.2 (#1)
56 / 397
Increase2.svg 12Opposition
1903 3,010,77131.7 (#1)
81 / 397
Increase2.svg 25Opposition
1907 3,259,02928.9 (#1)
43 / 397
Decrease2.svg 38Opposition
1912 4,250,39934.8 (#1)
110 / 397
Increase2.svg 67Opposition (1912–1918)
Coalition (1918)

Weimar Republic (Reichstag)

ElectionVotes %Seats+/–Status
1919 11,516,85237.9 (#1)
165 / 423
Increase2.svg 55Coalition
1920 6,179,99121.9 (#1)
103 / 459
Decrease2.svg 62External support (1920–1921)
Coalition (1921–1922)
External support (1922–1923)
Coalition (1923)
Opposition (1923–1924)
May 1924 6,008,90520.5 (#1)
100 / 472
Decrease2.svg 3Opposition
Dec 1924 7,881,04126.0 (#1)
131 / 493
Increase2.svg 31Opposition (1924–1926)
External support (1926–1927)
Opposition (1927–1928)
1928 9,152,97929.8 (#1)
153 / 491
Increase2.svg 22Coalition
1930 8,575,24424.5 (#1)
143 / 577
Decrease2.svg 10Opposition
Jul 1932 7,959,71221.6 (#2)
133 / 608
Decrease2.svg 10Opposition
Nov 1932 7,247,90120.4 (#2)
121 / 584
Decrease2.svg 12Opposition
Mar 1933 7,181,62918.3 (#2)
120 / 667
Decrease2.svg 1Opposition
Nov 1933
Banned. The Nazi Party was the sole legal party.
Banned. The Nazi Party was the sole legal party.
Banned. The Nazi Party was the sole legal party.

Federal parliament (Bundestag)

ElectionCandidateConstituencyParty listSeats+/–Status
Votes %Votes %
1949 Kurt Schumacher 6,934,97529.2 (#2)
131 / 402
1953 Erich Ollenhauer 8,131,25729.5 (#2)7,944,94328.8 (#2)
162 / 509
Increase2.svg 22Opposition
1957 11,975,40032.0 (#2)9,495,57131.8 (#2)
181 / 519
Increase2.svg 19Opposition
1961 Willy Brandt 11,672,05736.5 (#1)11,427,35536.2 (#1)
203 / 521
Increase2.svg 22Opposition
1965 12,998,47440.1 (#1)12,813,18639.3 (#1)
217 / 518
Increase2.svg 14Opposition (1965–1966)
CDU/CSU–SPD (1966–1969)
1969 14,402,37444.0 (#1)14,065,71642.7 (#1)
237 / 518
Increase2.svg 20SPD–FDP
1972 18,228,23948.9 (#1)17,175,16945.8 (#1)
242 / 518
Increase2.svg 5SPD–FDP
1976 Helmut Schmidt 16,471,32143.7 (#1)16,099,01942.6 (#1)
224 / 518
Decrease2.svg 18SPD–FDP
1980 16,808,86144.5 (#1)16,260,67742.9 (#1)
228 / 519
Increase2.svg 4SPD–FDP (1980–1982)
Opposition (1982–1983)
1983 Hans-Jochen Vogel 15,686,03340.4 (#2)14,865,80738.2 (#1)
202 / 520
Decrease2.svg 26Opposition
1987 Johannes Rau 14,787,95339.2 (#1)14,025,76337.0 (#1)
193 / 519
Decrease2.svg 9Opposition
1990 Oskar Lafontaine 16,279,98035.2 (#2)15,545,36633.5 (#2)
239 / 662
Increase2.svg 46Opposition
1994 Rudolf Scharping 17,966,81338.3 (#1)17,140,35436.4 (#1)
252 / 672
Increase2.svg 13Opposition
1998 Gerhard Schröder 21,535,89343.8 (#1)20,181,26940.9 (#1)
298 / 669
Increase2.svg 43SPD–Greens
2002 20,059,96741.9 (#1)18,484,56038.5 (#1)
251 / 603
Decrease2.svg 47SPD–Greens
2005 18,129,10038.4 (#1)16,194,66534.2 (#1)
222 / 614
Decrease2.svg 29 CDU/CSU–SPD
2009 Frank-Walter Steinmeier 12,077,43727.9 (#2)9,988,84323.0 (#2)
146 / 622
Decrease2.svg 76Opposition
2013 Peer Steinbrück 12,835,93329.4 (#2)11,247,28325.7 (#2)
193 / 630
Increase2.svg 42 CDU/CSU–SPD
2017 Martin Schulz 11,426,61324.6 (#2)9,538,36720.5 (#2)
153 / 709
Decrease2.svg 40 CDU/CSU–SPD
2021 Olaf Scholz 12,227,99826.4 (#1)11,949,37425.7 (#1)
206 / 736
Increase2.svg 53SPD–GreensFDP

European Parliament

ElectionVotes %Seats+/–
1979 11,370,04540.8 (#1)
33 / 81
1984 9,296,41737.4 (#2)
32 / 81
Decrease2.svg 1
1989 10,525,72837.3 (#1)
30 / 81
Decrease2.svg 2
1994 11,389,69732.2 (#1)
40 / 99
Increase2.svg 10
1999 8,307,08530.7 (#2)
33 / 99
Decrease2.svg 7
2004 5,547,97121.5 (#2)
23 / 99
Decrease2.svg 10
2009 5,472,56620.8 (#2)
23 / 99
Steady2.svg 0
2014 7,999,95527.2 (#2)
27 / 96
Increase2.svg 4
2019 5,914,95315.8 (#3)
16 / 96
Decrease2.svg 11

State parliaments (Länder)

State parliamentElectionVotes %Seats+/–Status
Baden-Württemberg 2021 535,46211.0 (#3)
19 / 154
Steady2.svg 0Opposition Leader
Bavaria 2023 1,140,5858.4 (#5)
17 / 203
Decrease2.svg 5Opposition
Berlin 2023 278,97818.4 (#2)
34 / 147
Decrease2.svg 2CDU–SPD
Brandenburg 2019 331,23826.2 (#1)
25 / 88
Decrease2.svg 5SPD–CDU–Greens
Bremen 2023 376,61029.8 (#1)
27 / 84
Increase2.svg 4SPD–Greens–Left
Hamburg 2020 1,554,76039.0 (#1)
54 / 123
Decrease2.svg 4SPD–Greens
Hesse 2023 424,48715.1 (#3)
23 / 133
Decrease2.svg 6CDU–SPD
Lower Saxony 2022 1,211,41833.4 (#1)
57 / 146
Increase2.svg 2SPD–Greens
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern 2021 361,76139.6 (#1)
34 / 79
Increase2.svg 8SPD–Left
North Rhine-Westphalia 2022 1,905,00226.7 (#2)
56 / 195
Decrease2.svg 13Opposition Leader
Rhineland-Palatinate 2021 691,05535.7 (#1)
39 / 101
Steady2.svg 0SPD–Greens–FDP
Saarland 2022 196,79943.5 (#1)
29 / 51
Increase2.svg 12SPD majority
Saxony 2019 167,2897.7 (#5)
10 / 119
Decrease2.svg 8CDU–SPD-Greens
Saxony-Anhalt 2021 89,4758.4 (#4)
9 / 97
Decrease2.svg 2CDU–SPD–FDP
Schleswig-Holstein 2022 221,53616.0 (#3)
12 / 69
Decrease2.svg 9Opposition Leader
Thuringia 2019 90,9848.2 (#4)
8 / 90
Decrease2.svg 4Left–SPD–Greens

Best historic results for state parties
StateSeats / Total %Position/Gov.YearLead Candidate
46 / 146
29.4 (#2)CDU–SPD 1992 Dieter Spöri (Deputy Minister-President 1992–1996)
61 / 204
28.1 (#2)SPD–BP–GB/BHE–FDP 1954 Wilhelm Hoegner (Minister-President 1954–1957)
89 / 140
61.9 (#1)SPD–FDP 1963 Willy Brandt (Governing Mayor 1957–1966)
52 / 88
54.1 (#1)SPD majority 1994 Manfred Stolpe (Minister-President 1990–2002)
59 / 100
55.3 (#1)SPD majority1971 Hans Koschnick (President of the Senate and Mayor 1967–1985)
74 / 120
59.0 (#1)SPD majority 1966 Herbert Weichmann (First Mayor 1965–1971)
52 / 96
51.0 (#1)SPD majority1966 Georg-August Zinn (Minister-President 1950–1969)
Lower Saxony
83 / 157
47.9 (#1)SPD majority 1998 Gerhard Schröder (Minister-President 1990–1998)
34 / 79
39.6 (#1)SPD–Left 2021 Manuela Schwesig (Minister-President 2017–)
North Rhine-Westphalia
125 / 227
52.1 (#1)SPD majority1985 Johannes Rau (Minister-President 1978–1998)
53 / 101
45.6 (#1)SPD majority 2006 Kurt Beck (Minister-President 1994–2013)
30 / 51
54.4 (#1)SPD majority 1990 Oskar Lafontaine (Minister-President 1985–1998)
18 / 126
12.4 (#3)CDU–SPD 2014 Martin Dulig (Deputy Minister-President 2014–2019)
47 / 116
35.9 (#1)SPD minority
with PDS confidence and supply
1998 Reinhard Höppner (Minister-President 1994–2002)
46 / 74
54.7 (#1)SPD majority 1988 Björn Engholm (Minister-President 1988–1993)
29 / 88
29.6 (#2)CDU–SPD 1994 Gerd Schuchardt (Deputy Minister-President 1994–1999)

Results timeline

Year Flag of Germany.svg
Flag of Europe.svg
Flag of Baden-Wurttemberg.svg
Flag of Bavaria (lozengy).svg
Flag of Berlin.svg
Flag of Brandenburg.svg
Flag of Bremen.svg
Flag of Hamburg.svg
Flag of Hesse.svg
Flag of Lower Saxony.svg
Flag of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.svg
Flag of North Rhine-Westphalia.svg
Flag of Rhineland-Palatinate.svg
Flag of Saarland.svg
Flag of Saxony.svg
Flag of Saxony-Anhalt (state).svg
Flag of Schleswig-Holstein.svg
Flag of Thuringia.svg
Flagge Grossherzogtum Baden (1891-1918).svg
Flag of Wurttemberg-Baden.svg
Flagge Konigreich Wurttemberg.svg
[lower-alpha 1] 47.6
43.142.7 [lower-alpha 1] [lower-alpha 1] [lower-alpha 1] [lower-alpha 1]
   20.8Decrease2.svg 41.7     43.432.034.332.843.8
1948   Increase2.svg64.5
194929.2Decrease2.svg 42.8
1950Increase2.svg 33.0
Decrease2.svg 28.0
Decrease2.svg 44.7N/A Increase2.svg 44.4N/AIncrease2.svg 32.3N/AN/ADecrease2.svg 27.5N/A
1951   Decrease2.svg 39.1 Decrease2.svg 33.7Decrease2.svg 34.0
      Decrease2.svg 32.4
1953Decrease2.svg 28.8    Increase2.svg 45.2
1954Increase2.svg 28.1Decrease2.svg 44.6Decrease2.svg 42.6Increase2.svg 34.5Increase2.svg 33.2
1955      Increase2.svg 47.8  Increase2.svg 35.2Decrease2.svg 31.7Decrease2.svg 20.1
1956Increase2.svg 28.9         
1957Increase2.svg 31.8    Increase2.svg 53.9   
1958Increase2.svg 30.8Increase2.svg 52.6  Increase2.svg 46.9Increase2.svg 39.2Increase2.svg 35.9
1959  Increase2.svg 54.9  Increase2.svg 39.5Increase2.svg 34.9
1960Increase2.svg 35.3     Increase2.svg 30.0
1961Increase2.svg 36.2Increase2.svg 57.4
1962Increase2.svg 35.3  Increase2.svg 50.8Increase2.svg 43.3Increase2.svg 39.2
1963Increase2.svg 61.9Decrease2.svg 54.7  Increase2.svg 44.9Increase2.svg 40.7
1964Increase2.svg 37.3      
1965Increase2.svg 39.3Increase2.svg 40.7
1966    Increase2.svg35.8Increase2.svg59.0Increase2.svg51.0Increase2.svg 49.5
1967Decrease2.svg 56.9Decrease2.svg 46.0  Decrease2.svg 43.1  Decrease2.svg 36.8Increase2.svg 39.4
1968Decrease2.svg 29.0      
1969Increase2.svg 42.7  
1970  Decrease2.svg 33.3Decrease2.svg 55.3Decrease2.svg 45.9Increase2.svg 46.3Decrease2.svg 46.1Increase2.svg 40.8
1971Decrease2.svg 50.4Increase2.svg55.3       Increase2.svg 40.5Increase2.svg 41.0
1974Decrease2.svg 30.2Decrease2.svg 45.0Decrease2.svg 43.2Decrease2.svg 43.1
1975Decrease2.svg 42.6Decrease2.svg 48.8    Decrease2.svg 45.1Decrease2.svg 38.5Increase2.svg 41.8Decrease2.svg 40.1
1976Decrease2.svg 42.6Decrease2.svg 33.3     
1978Increase2.svg 31.4Increase2.svg 51.5Increase2.svg 44.3Decrease2.svg 42.2
197940.8Increase2.svg 42.7
Decrease2.svg 48.8   Increase2.svg 42.3Increase2.svg 41.7
1980Increase2.svg 42.9Decrease2.svg 32.5 Increase2.svg 48.4Increase2.svg 45.4
1981  Decrease2.svg 38.3 
1982Increase2.svg 31.9Decrease2.svg 42.7Decrease2.svg 42.8Decrease2.svg 36.5
Increase2.svg 51.3
1983Decrease2.svg 38.2Increase2.svg 51.3 Increase2.svg 46.2Decrease2.svg 39.6Increase2.svg 43.7
1984Decrease2.svg 37.4Decrease2.svg 32.4  
1985Decrease2.svg 32.4Increase2.svg52.1Increase2.svg 49.2
1986Decrease2.svg 27.5Decrease2.svg 41.7Increase2.svg 42.1  
1987Decrease2.svg 37.0Decrease2.svg 50.5Increase2.svg 45.0Decrease2.svg 40.2Decrease2.svg 38.8Increase2.svg 45.2
1988Decrease2.svg 32.0   Increase2.svg54.8
1989Decrease2.svg 37.3Increase2.svg 37.3
1990Decrease2.svg 33.5Decrease2.svg 26.0Decrease2.svg 30.438.2Increase2.svg 44.227.0Decrease2.svg 50.0Increase2.svg54.419.126.022.8
1991     Decrease2.svg 38.8Increase2.svg 48.0
Increase2.svg 40.8   Increase2.svg 44.8 
1992Decrease2.svg 29.4       Decrease2.svg 46.2
1993  Decrease2.svg 40.4 
1994Increase2.svg 36.4Decrease2.svg 32.2Increase2.svg 30.0Increase2.svg54.1  Increase2.svg 44.3Increase2.svg 29.5Decrease2.svg 49.4Decrease2.svg 16.6Increase2.svg 34.0Increase2.svg29.6
1995Decrease2.svg 23.6 Decrease2.svg 33.4Decrease2.svg 38.0   Decrease2.svg 46.0     
1996Decrease2.svg 25.1        Decrease2.svg 39.8Decrease2.svg 39.8
1997Decrease2.svg 36.2    
1998Increase2.svg 40.9Decrease2.svg 28.7  Increase2.svg47.9Increase2.svg 34.3Increase2.svg35.9
1999  Decrease2.svg 30.7Decrease2.svg 22.4
Decrease2.svg 39.3Increase2.svg 42.6Decrease2.svg 39.4   Decrease2.svg 44.4Decrease2.svg 10.7 Decrease2.svg 18.5
2000    Decrease2.svg 42.8Increase2.svg 43.1
2001Increase2.svg 33.3  Increase2.svg 36.5  Increase2.svg 44.8  
Increase2.svg 29.7
2002Decrease2.svg 38.5  Increase2.svg40.6  Decrease2.svg 20.0
2003  Decrease2.svg 19.6Decrease2.svg 42.3Decrease2.svg 29.1Decrease2.svg 33.4  
2004Decrease2.svg 21.5Decrease2.svg 31.9  Decrease2.svg 30.5Decrease2.svg 30.8Decrease2.svg 9.8Decrease2.svg 14.5
2005Decrease2.svg 34.2  Decrease2.svg 37.1  Decrease2.svg 38.7
2006  Decrease2.svg 25.2Increase2.svg 30.8Decrease2.svg 30.2Increase2.svg45.6Increase2.svg 21.4  
2007  Decrease2.svg 36.7     
2008Decrease2.svg 18.6  Increase2.svg 34.1Increase2.svg 36.7Decrease2.svg 30.3
2009Decrease2.svg 23.0Decrease2.svg 20.8Increase2.svg 33.0Decrease2.svg 23.7Decrease2.svg 24.5Increase2.svg 10.4Decrease2.svg 25.4Increase2.svg 18.5
2010  Decrease2.svg 34.5
2011Decrease2.svg 23.1Decrease2.svg 28.3Increase2.svg 38.6Increase2.svg 48.4Increase2.svg 35.6Decrease2.svg 35.7Increase2.svg 21.5
2012         Increase2.svg 39.1  Increase2.svg 30.6  Increase2.svg 30.4
2013Increase2.svg 25.7Increase2.svg 20.6Increase2.svg 30.7Increase2.svg 32.6       
2014  Increase2.svg 27.3Decrease2.svg 31.9  Increase2.svg 12.4Decrease2.svg 12.4
2015  Decrease2.svg 32.8Decrease2.svg 45.6     
2016Decrease2.svg 12.7Decrease2.svg 21.6    Decrease2.svg 30.6Increase2.svg 36.2Decrease2.svg 10.6
2017Decrease2.svg 20.5   Increase2.svg 36.9  Decrease2.svg 31.2   Decrease2.svg 29.6   Decrease2.svg 27.3
2018  Decrease2.svg 9.7Decrease2.svg 19.8    
2019Decrease2.svg 15.8Decrease2.svg 26.2Decrease2.svg 24.9Decrease2.svg 7.7Decrease2.svg 8.2
2020      Decrease2.svg 39.2      
2021Increase2.svg 25.7
Decrease2.svg 11.0Decrease2.svg 21.4
  Increase2.svg 39.6Decrease2.svg 35.7Decrease2.svg 8.4
2022Decrease2.svg 33.4
  Decrease2.svg 26.7   Increase2.svg 43.5
   Decrease2.svg 16.0
2023TBDDecrease2.svg 18.4
Increase2.svg 29.8
Year Flag of Germany.svg
Flag of Europe.svg
Flag of Baden-Wurttemberg.svg
Flag of Bavaria (lozengy).svg
Flag of Berlin.svg
Flag of Brandenburg.svg
Flag of Bremen.svg
Flag of Hamburg.svg
Flag of Hesse.svg
Flag of Lower Saxony.svg
Flag of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.svg
Flag of North Rhine-Westphalia.svg
Flag of Rhineland-Palatinate.svg
Flag of Saarland.svg
Flag of Saxony.svg
Flag of Saxony-Anhalt (state).svg
Flag of Schleswig-Holstein.svg
Flag of Thuringia.svg
Bold indicates best result to date.
  Present in legislature (in opposition)
  Junior coalition partner
  Senior coalition partner

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 The eastern sections of the SPD were forcibly merged into the SED prior to the 1946 elections in the eastern zone.

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  1. "Bilanz für 2023: SPD verliert fast 15.000 Mitglieder".
  2. Merkel, Wolfgang; Petring, Alexander; Henkes, Christian; Egle, Christoph (2008). Social Democracy in Power: the capacity to reform. London: Taylor & Francis. ISBN   978-0-415-43820-9.
  3. Almeida, Dimitri (2012). The Impact of European Integration on Political Parties: Beyond the Permissive Consensus. CRC Press. p. 71. ISBN   978-1-136-34039-0 . Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  4. Ashley Lavelle (2013). The Death of Social Democracy: Political Consequences in the 21st Century. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 7. ISBN   978-1-4094-9872-8 . Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  5. Christopher R. Browning, The Origins of the Final Solution: The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy, September 1939 – March 1942 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004), p. 7.
  6. 1 2 Barber, Tony (23 December 2022). "Year in a word: Zeitenwende". Financial Times . Retrieved 26