The SPD party’s arbitration committee has completed its consideration of the possible expulsion of former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder from the party’s ranks. The Thursday meeting ended with a lack of resolution, “internal discussions” on this subject continued on Friday, informs the portal of the Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) station.
Neither Gerhard Schroeder nor his attorney appeared at the arbitration panel hearing on Thursday SPD handling requests for expulsion from the ranks of the party. The former chancellor announced in advance through his lawyer that he “considered the procedure redundant” and declared that he would remain a member of the SPD.
As Christoph Matterne, the head of the SPD from the Hanover district in which the Schroeder case was examined, announced after the meeting, the three-person commission will meet again, and “the decision is to be made within the next three weeks” – probably in the first week of August.
SPD members want Schroeder’s expulsion
17 applications for the removal of Schroeder from the ranks of the Social Democrats were received from local and district SPD branches from all over German – gives NDR. The main allegations concern his association with Russiawhich remain valid despite Russia’s aggression on Ukraine.
“Nine people who were critical of Schroeder came to Hanover from all regions of Germany (including Berlin, Essen, Stuttgart) to personally explain to the arbitration committee why the former chancellor’s membership of the SPD is, in their opinion, unfavorable for the SPD,” emphasizes the NDR.
Even before the meeting, it was noted that Schroeder’s expulsion from the SPD was considered unrealistic. “There are many obstacles, not in categories such as decency and morality. The committee is only concerned with whether Schroeder has deliberately violated the party’s rules or reputation, and whether it can be proven,” adds NDR.
Schroeder criticized for relations with Putin
The biggest wave of criticism was caused by the fact that Schroeder maintained friendly relations with Putin in spite of wars in Ukraineas well as for years occupied by positions on supervisory boards of Russian state-owned energy companies.
– Unfortunately, Gerhard Schroeder has not yet spoken with the necessary clarity against Russia’s brutal, unjustified aggression against Ukraine – stressed the Prime Minister of Lower Saxony, Stephan Weil (SPD).
Protestant theologian Margot Kaessmann of Schroeder’s hometown of Hanover also criticizes Schroeder’s intimate relationship with Putin. – It’s a big problem indeed. I cannot imagine that a person who respects democracy could be friends with a dictator and a warmonger – she pointed out.
In May, after a wave of harsh criticism, Schroeder announced his resignation from sitting on the supervisory board of Russia’s Rosneft, and rejected the appointment as a member of the Gazprom supervisory board. However, he still did not dissociate himself from the person of the Russian leader. A few days ago, in an interview with the Frankfurter Allegemeine Zeitung, the former chancellor stated that he “did not want to give up the opportunity to talk with Putin” and negotiate with him.
Main photo source: Kay Nietfeld / DPAP / PAP