Platzeck becomes new leader of Schroeder's SPD

2nd November 2005, Comments 0 comments

2 November 2005, BERLIN - Matthias Platzeck, a 51-year-old state premier in Germany, won broad backing Tuesday to become the new leader of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democratic Party (SPD) as it prepares to enter a new ruling coalition.

2 November 2005

BERLIN - Matthias Platzeck, a 51-year-old state premier in Germany, won broad backing Tuesday to become the new leader of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democratic Party (SPD) as it prepares to enter a new ruling coalition.

Platzeck said he would remain premier of the state of Brandenburg rather than seeking a federal cabinet post in Berlin.

The SPD was plunged into strife Monday by a left-wing revolt that prompted Franz Muentefering to resign as party leader, though he is still slated to become Germany's vice-chancellor and labour minister.

After meeting with senior SPD figures in Berlin, Platzeck said he would be running for the party chairmanship at an SPD conference in mid-November. He said he had been assured of the backing of SPD branches in all 16 German states, making his election nearly certain.

Long seen as a rising star in the party, Platzeck consulted with another up and coming star, Kurt Beck, the premier of Rhineland Palatinate state, before he made his announcement in Berlin.

The swift change in leadership came six weeks after Schroeder's SPD-Greens coalition lost its majority in a general election.

Schroeder, who gave up the SPD leadership to Muentefering early in his second term, is still caretaker chancellor but is due to hand over soon to Christian Democratic leader Angela Merkel.

Her CDU/CSU alliance is negotiating coalition terms with the SPD. She is to become German chancellor after gaining a plurality at the polls.

DPA

Subject: German news

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