The SPD local association from Leutenbach in Baden-Württemberg does not want to accept the decision of a party arbitration commission, according to which former chancellor Gerhard Schröder can remain in the party despite his close ties to Russia. As the local association announced on Thursday evening, its board of directors decided by a large majority to appeal the decision again and ultimately to go to the Federal Arbitration Commission. “We see central points in the justification of the arbitration commission for Schröder’s acquittal differently and have therefore decided to take this step,” said the Leutbacher SPD chairman Pierre Orthen according to the announcement. His deputy, Lennart Knab, said that it was still believed that Schröder had caused the party serious damage. It is therefore impossible for him to stay in the SPD.
The arbitration commission of the SPD district of Hanover rejected all applications from the party for sanctions against Schröder on Thursday. It can “not be determined with sufficient certainty” that Schröder violated statutes, principles or the party order or was guilty of an dishonorable act. Politically, the party leadership declared Schröder to be isolated months ago. The party order proceedings against Schröder were initiated by 17 SPD branches.
Appeal will probably not be allowed
In the first instance, the SPD sub-district Region Hannover decided in the summer that Schröder had not violated the party order. On the other hand, seven SPD branches appealed, including the local association from Leutenbach. The hearing took place in early December. An exclusion of Schröder from the SPD was discussed in the proceedings. But milder penalties such as a reprimand would also have been possible. It is considered rather unlikely that a further appeal would be allowed after the unanimous decisions of the first instances.
Schröder is considered a close friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin and has worked for Russian energy companies for years. With regard to Russia’s attack on Ukraine, Schröder stated that it was Russia’s responsibility to end the war. However, the ties to Russia should not be completely severed.