Home Europe Saskia Esken and Lars Klingbeil elected to lead Germany’s SPD

Saskia Esken and Lars Klingbeil elected to lead Germany’s SPD

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Saskia Esken and Lars Klingbeil were elected to the new joint leadership of Germany’s governing Social Democratic Party (SPD) during a party conference Saturday in Berlin.

“We will change this country, we will strengthen it and we will make it more just,” Esken told hundreds of party delegates present in person and online.

The leadership change comes after the center-left SPD took the helm of Germany’s new coalition government Wednesday under Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Esken was reelected with 76.7 percent of votes and Klingbeil received 86.3 percent.

Klingbeil, 43, has been the party’s secretary-general since 2017. He managed the party’s victorious federal election campaign in September and, like Scholz, represents a more moderate SPD faction. Esken, 60, who was reelected to the role she’s held since 2019, is further to the left.

“Thanks for your trust. The new assignment is a great honor for me and it fills me with humility. We look forward to everything that is to come!” Klingbeil tweeted shortly after the vote.

Kevin Kühnert, from the left of the party, was elected as SPD secretary-general with 77.8 percent.

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