Gerhard Schröder survives decision to kick him out of German Social Democrats – POLITICO
Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder will not be excluded from the Social Democrats (SPD), despite his business ties to Russian energy companies and his personal ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
An internal SPD arbitration committee on Monday rejected a decision to expel the controversial ex-chancellor, saying he had « not been guilty of a breach of party rules ».
Seventeen branches of the SPD had filed demands for Schröder’s exclusion, arguing that his continued ties to Russia had caused serious damage to the party. Expulsion proceedings took place before party members last month. Schröder himself did not appear and did not send a lawyer. The decision of the arbitration committee can be appealed within two weeks, and the matter could still be taken to the higher arbitration committees of the SPD.
Before the hearing, experts and party members noted that the expulsion procedures are legally very difficult compared to the statutes of the SPD.
Schröder has faced a strong backlash for his continued ties to Russia, which have included board seats at Russian energy companies. In May, the German parliament deprived Schröder of some of his allowances as former chancellor, including his offices and staff.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began in February, Schröder has met Putin twice. After his last trip to Moscow in July, the former chancellor gave a much-criticized interview, where he again called for negotiations with Russia, scandalizing Kyiv’s leaders.
« I am and will remain a social democrat », Gerhard Schröder announced a few weeks ago about the procedure. So far, he seems to be right.