Yes to GroKo, no to GroKo …
The congress was opened in the morning by the Rhineland-Palatinate Prime Minister Maul Dreyer, who had provisionally led the SPD after the resignation of Andrea Nahles. Dreyer was therefore particularly keen in her opening remarks to thank her predecessor Nahles with emotional words:
"Andrea, you are one of us and you can be proud of what you have achieved."
Dreyer campaigned for the party to remain in the grand coalition. It explicitly praised the SPD ministers and the achievements of the SPD in the federal government. Then she was "mighty proud," the Prime Minister.
SPD General Secretary Lars Klingbeil criticized his party in his speech with clear words. The SPD has a bad deal with the management staff of recent years. It was rough, with the resigned chairman Andrea Nahles the SPD was not well handled. That must change immediately. "Today must be the departure", demanded Klingbeil:
"We have to overcome an old style in this party that focuses on first-person shooters and lone fighters."
The SPD must stand again for unity, so the Secretary General. He is again running for office at the current party congress and has the best chance of being re-elected by the 600 or so delegates by a large majority.
A drastic formulation …
The member of the Bundestag Leni Breymaier is too little self-criticism. The SPD had failed to set the right accents, so the Baden-Wuerttemberg at the party congress. One has to fight for fair taxation, for fairer salaries and for parity. These and other priorities could not have been set in the coalition with the Union:
"That's also why we've shivered, with the people."
Breymaier called on the comrades to fight for a left-wing majority in the Bundestag. To many comrades the deputies' words were too drastic. But in essence, almost all delegates agree that the SPD has lost its profile in recent years. At just 14 percent are the Social Democrats currently in nationwide surveys.
Before the election to the SPD party leadership, the candidate Saskia Esken also presents herself in a very personal way: her first years in the working world were not "straightforward", Esken said. She had stayed unskilled with odd jobs over water. She had been at the post office behind the counter and later worked as a chauffeur. After all, she trained as a software developer. Esken was also critical of GroKo:
"I was and I'm skeptical about the future of this grand coalition."
For too long, the SPD has been more grand coalition than an independent force in recent years. The designated party leader gave the government alliance a realistic chance of a continuation – "no more, but not less," said Esken clearly.
Clear edge to the CDU …
Norbert Walter-Borjans opened his following speech on the podium with an appeal for peace and a praise of Willy Brandt's and Helmut Schmidt's achievements. Walter-Borjans also distanced himself from the Union's demand for two percent defense spending. The financing of a European aircraft carrier, as demanded by CDU chief Kramp-Karrenbauer, should not join the Social Democrats. The SPD must finally be left people's party again:
"There are political parties that want to leave our children with a debt-free country, and we want to give our children a land of healthy air, ecological industry and modern mobility, good health care and above all excellent education."
Another attack on the Union and on SPD Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, who do not want to sacrifice the Black Zero in favor of higher investment. If Black Zero opposes a better future for our children, says Walter-Borjans, then she is wrong, then she has to leave.
The vote on the deputy chairpersons is also eagerly awaited at this congress. At first it had been said in some media, there will be a battle vote between Labor Minister Heil and Juso CEO Kuhnert. But instead, the number of vice-posts has been increased from three to five.
New explosive …
In terms of content, applications for a renegotiation of the climate package and a Social Democratic initiative for a minimum wage of 12 euros are on the agenda. A vote directly on the whereabouts of the SPD in the GroKo will probably not exist. Although parliamentary party member Hilde Mattheis had submitted an own-initiative motion, the executive board expects it to be withdrawn because he would not find a majority among the delegates. On Saturday, the comrades finally want to decide their welfare state concept, which should also provide fuel for inflammation within the grand coalition. Until Sunday, the SPD will be discussing its future political line at its federal party convention in Berlin.