SPD needs middle class votes if it wants to survive: Beck

11th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

11 April 2006, BERLIN - The designated new leader of Germany's Social Democrats, Kurt Beck, warned Tuesday the party's old working class voting bloc was shrinking and that doctors and other professionals needed to be won over by the SPD. Beck, who is premier of Rhineland-Palatinate state, has been nominated to replace Social Democratic chairman Matthias Platzeck who announced his resignation on Monday due to health grounds after just five months in office. The SPD serves in Christian Democratic Chancellor

11 April 2006

BERLIN - The designated new leader of Germany's Social Democrats, Kurt Beck, warned Tuesday the party's old working class voting bloc was shrinking and that doctors and other professionals needed to be won over by the SPD.

Beck, who is premier of Rhineland-Palatinate state, has been nominated to replace Social Democratic chairman Matthias Platzeck who announced his resignation on Monday due to health grounds after just five months in office.

The SPD serves in Christian Democratic Chancellor Angela Merkel's federal government as junior partner.

Beck, who is due to be formally elected at a special party congress in Berlin on May 14, said in a Bild newspaper interview his goal would be to recruit new blocs of SPD voters including engineers, doctors and lawyers.

The working class, from which the SPD has traditionally drawn its support, has been dramatically melting away, he said.

Beck rules Rhineland-Palatinate state with the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) and said he could also imagine such a government at the federal level in Berlin.

His SPD ruled Germany with the FDP as junior partner from 1969 to 1974 under chancellor Willy Brandt and from 1974 to 1982 under chancellor Helmut Schmidt.

Beck ruled out any coalition at the national level with the revamped former East German communists who now call themselves the Left Party.

The SPD has entered into several coalitions with the former communists at the regional level.

DPA

Subject: German news

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