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SPD Definition

(Wikipedia) - Social Democratic Party of Germany   (Redirected from SPD) "SPD" redirects here. For other uses, see SPD (disambiguation). Social Democratic Party of Germany Chairman Secretary-General Vice Chairpeople Founded Headquarters Student wing Youth wing Women''s wing Membership  (2013) Ideology Political position International affiliation European affiliation European Parliament group Colors Bundestag State Parliaments European Parliament Prime Ministers of States Website
Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands
Sigmar Gabriel
Yasmin Fahimi
Hannelore Kraft Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel Olaf Scholz Manuela Schwesig Aydan Özoğuz
23 May 1863 (ADAV) 7 August 1869 (SDAP) 27 May 1875 (merger)
Willy-Brandt-Haus D-10911 Berlin
Socialist German Student Union (1946-1961), Juso-Hochschulgruppen (since 1973)
Association of Social Democratic Women
Social democracy Third Way
Progressive Alliance, Socialist International
Party of European Socialists
Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
193 / 631
601 / 1,857
27 / 96
9 / 16
Politics of Germany Political parties Elections

The Social Democratic Party of Germany (German: Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, SPD) is a social-democratic political party in Germany. The party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in Germany, along with the conservative CDU/CSU, and is led by Sigmar Gabriel.

The SPD currently governs at the federal level in a so-called grand coalition with the Christian Democratic Union and the Christian Social Union since December 2013 following the results of the German Federal election of 2013. The party participates in 14 state governments, of which nine are governed by SPD Minister-Presidents.

The SPD is a member of the Party of European Socialists and the Socialist International, and was a founding member of the Progressive Alliance on 22 May 2013. Established in 1863, the SPD is the oldest existent political party represented in German Parliament. It was also one of the first Marxist-influenced parties in the world.

  • 1 History
  • 2 Party platform
    • 2.1 Internal groupings
  • 3 Base of support
    • 3.1 Social structure
    • 3.2 Geographic distribution
  • 4 Election results
    • 4.1 Federal Parliament (Bundestag)
    • 4.2 European Parliament
  • 5 Notes
  • 6 See also
  • 7 Further reading
  • 8 External links

HistoryMembership developmentMain article: History of the Social Democratic Party of Germany

The General German Workers'' Association (Allgemeiner Deutscher Arbeiterverein, ADAV), founded in 1863, and the Social Democratic Workers'' Party (Sozialdemokratische Arbeiterpartei Deutschlands, SDAP), founded in 1869, merged in 1875, under the name Socialist Workers'' Party of Germany (Sozialistische Arbeiterpartei Deutschlands, SAPD). From 1878 to 1890, any grouping or meeting that aimed at spreading socialist principles was banned under the Anti-Socialist Laws, but the party still gained support in elections. In 1890, when the ban was lifted and it could again present electoral lists, the party adopted its current name. In the years leading up to World War I, the party remained ideologically radical in official principle, although many party officials tended to be moderate in everyday politics. By 1912, the party claimed the most votes of any German party.

Despite the agreement of the Second International to oppose the First World War, the SPD voted in favor of war in 1914. In response to this and the Bolshevik Revolution, members of the left and of the far-left of the SPD formed alternative parties, first the Spartacus League, then the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany and later the Communist Party of Germany. After 1918 the SPD played an important role in the political system of the Weimar Republic, although it took part in coalition governments only in few years (1918–1921, 1923, 1928–1930).Adolf Hitler prohibited the party in 1933 under the Enabling Act - party officials were imprisoned, killed or went into exile. In exile, the party used the name Sopade.

In 1945, the allied occupants in the Western zones initially allowed four parties to be established, which led to the Christian Democratic Union, the Free Democratic Party, the Communist Party of Germany, and the SPD being established. In the Soviet Zone of Occupation, the Soviets forced the Social Democrats to form a common party with the Communists (Socialist Unity Party of Germany or SED). In the Western zones, the Communist Party was later (1956) banned by West Germany''s Federal Constitutional Court. Since 1949, in the Federal Republic of Germany, the SPD has been one of the two major parties, with the other being the Christian Democratic Union. From 1969 to 1982 and 1998 to 2005 the Chancellors of Germany were Social Democrats whereas the other years the Chancellors were Christian Democrats.

Party platform

The SPD was established as a Marxist party in 1875. However, the SPD underwent a major shift in policies reflected in the differences between the Heidelberg Program of 1925, which "called for the transformation of the capitalist system of private ownership of the means of production to social ownership", and the Godesberg Program of 1959, which aimed to broaden its voter base and move its political position toward the centre. After World War II, under the leadership of Kurt Schumacher, the SPD re-established itself as a socialist party, representing the interests of the working class and the trade unions. With the Godesberg Program of 1959, however, the party evolved from a socialist working-class party to a modern social-democratic party working within capitalism.

The current party platform of the SPD espouses the goal of social democracy, which is seen as a vision of a societal arrangement in which freedom and social justice are paramount. According to the party platform, freedom, justice, and social solidarity, form the basis of social democracy. The coordinated social market economy should be strengthened, and its output should be distributed fairly. The party sees that economic system as necessary in order to ensure the affluence of the entire population. The SPD also tries to protect the society''s poor with a welfare state. Concurrently, it advocates a sustainable fiscal policy that doesn''t place a burden on future generations while eradicating budget deficits. In social policy, the SPD stands for civil and political rights in an open society. In foreign policy, the SPD aims at ensuring global peace by balancing global interests with democratic means. Thus, European integration is one of the main priorities of the SPD. SPD supports economic regulations to limit potential losses for banks and people. They support a common European economic and financial policy, and to prevent speculative bubbles. They support environmentally sustainable growth.

Internal groupings

The SPD is mostly composed of members belonging to either of the two main wings: Keynesian social democrats, and the Third Way, moderate social democrats belonging to the Seeheimer Kreis. While the moderate, Seeheimer Kreis social democrats strongly support the Agenda 2010 reformist programs introduced by former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, the Keynesian social democrats continue to defend classical left-wing policies such as the apology of the welfare state. The classical left-wing of the SPD claims that in recent years the welfare state has been curtailed through reform programs such as the Agenda 2010, Hartz IV and the more economic liberal stance of the SPD, which were endorsed by right-wing social democrats. As a reaction to the Agenda 2010 there was 2005 the ascension of an inner party dissident movement, which leads ultimately to the foundation of the new party Labour and Social Justice – The Electoral Alternative (Arbeit & soziale Gerechtigkeit - Die Wahlalternative (WASG)). The WASG was later emerged into the party Die Linke (The Left) 2007.

Base of support Social structure

Before World War II, as the main non-revolutionary left-wing party, the Social Democrats fared best among non-Catholic workers as well as intellectuals favouring social progressive causes and increased economic equality. Led by Kurt Schumacher after World War II, the SPD initially opposed both the social market economy and Konrad Adenauer''s drive towards western integration fiercely, but after Schumacher''s death, it accepted the social market economy and Germany''s position in the Western alliance in order to appeal to a broader range of voters. It still remains associated with the economic causes of unionised employees and working class voters. In the 1990s, the left and moderate wings of the party drifted apart, culminating in a secession of a significant number of party members, which later joined the socialist party WASG, which later merged into The Left (Die Linke) party.

Sigmar GabrielGeographic distribution

Geographically, much of the SPD''s current-day support comes from large cities, especially of northern and western Germany and Berlin. The metropolitan area of the Ruhr Area, where coal mining and steel production were once the biggest sources of revenues, have provided a significant base for the SPD in the 20th century. In the state Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, made up of the cities of Bremen and Bremerhaven, the SPD has governed without interruption since 1949. In southern Germany, the SPD typically garners less support except in the largest cities. At the 2009 federal election, the party lost its only constituency in the entire state of Bavaria (in Munich). Small town and rural support comes especially from the traditionally Protestant areas of northern Germany and Brandenburg (with notable exceptions such as Western Pomerania where CDU leader Angela Merkel was re-elected in 2005) and a number of university towns. A striking example of the general pattern is the traditionally Catholic Emsland, where the Social Democrats generally gain a low percentage of votes, whereas the Reformed Protestant region of East Frisia directly to the north, with its strong traditional streak of anti-Catholism, is one of their strongest constituencies. Further south, the SPD also enjoys solid support in northern Hesse (Hans Eichel was mayor of Kassel, then Hesse''s minister president, then finance minister in the Schröder administration, while Brigitte Zypries served as Justice Minister), parts of Palatinate (Kurt Beck was party leader until 7 September 2008), the Saarland (political home of one-time candidate for federal chancellor Oskar Lafontaine, defected from the SPD in 1999), and southwestern Baden (Marion Caspers-Merk, Gernot Erler).

Election results Federal Parliament (Bundestag) Election year # of constituency votes # of party list votes  % of party list votes # of overall seats won +/– 1949 1953 1957 1961 1965 1969 1972 1976 1980 1983 1987 1990 1994 1998 2002 2005 2009 2013
6,934,975 29.2 131 / 402
8,131,257 7,944,943 28.8 162 / 509 22
11,975,400 11,875,339 31.8 181 / 519 19
11,672,057 11,427,355 36.2 203 / 521 22
12,998,474 12,813,186 39.3 217 / 518 14
14,402,374 14,065,716 42.7 237 / 518 20
18,228,239 17,175,169 45.8 242 / 518 5
16,471,321 16,099,019 42.6 224 / 518 18
16,808,861 16,260,677 42.9 228 / 519 4
15,686,033 14,865,807 38.2 202 / 520 26
14,787,953 14,025,763 37.0 193 / 519 9
16,279,980 15,545,366 33.5 239 / 662 46
17,966,813 17,140,354 36.4 252 / 672 13
21,535,893 20,181,269 40.9 298 / 669 43
20,059,967 18,484,560 38.5 251 / 603 47
18,129,100 16,194,665 34.2 222 / 614 29
12,077,437 9,988,843 23.0 146 / 622 76
12,835,933 11,247,283 25.7 193 / 631 42
European Parliament Election year # of overall votes  % of overall vote # of overall seats won +/– 1979 1984 1989 1994 1999 2004 2009 2014
11,370,045 40.8 (#1) 33 / 81
9,296,417 37.4 (#2) 32 / 81 1
10,525,728 37.3 (#1) 30 / 81 2
11,389,697 32.2 (#1) 40 / 99 10
8,307,085 30.7 (#2) 33 / 99 7
5,547,971 21.5 (#2) 23 / 99 10
5,472,566 20.8 (#2) 23 / 99 0
7,999,955 27.2 (#2) 27 / 96 4
  • ^ "Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (SPD) - Parteiprofil". Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  • ^ a b c Parties and Elections in Europe: The database about parliamentary elections and political parties in Europe, by Wolfram Nordsieck
  • ^ Merkel, Wolfgang; Alexander Petring; Christian Henkes; Christoph Egle (2008). Social Democracy in Power: the capacity to reform. London: Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0-415-43820-9. 
  • ^ Dimitri Almeida (27 April 2012). The Impact of European Integration on Political Parties: Beyond the Permissive Consensus. CRC Press. pp. 71–. ISBN 978-1-136-34039-0. Retrieved 14 July 2013. 
  • ^ Ashley Lavelle (1 March 2013). The Death of Social Democracy: Political Consequences in the 21st Century. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. pp. 7–. ISBN 978-1-4094-9872-8. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  • ^ http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/progressive-alliance-sozialdemokraten-gruenden-weltweites-netzwerk-a-901352.html
  • ^ http://www.faz.net/aktuell/politik/sozialdemokratie-progressive-alliance-gegruendet-12191286.html
  • ^ http://www.n-tv.de/politik/SPD-gruendet-Progressive-Alliance-article10689571.html
  • ^ Brustein, William. Logic of Evil: The Social Origins of the Nazi Party 1925-1933. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1996. p. 131.
  • ^ Cooper, Alice Holmes. Paradoxes of Peace: German Peace Movements since 1945. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1996. p. 85
  • ^
  • ^ Nils Schnelle: Die WASG – Von der Gründung bis zur geplanten Fusion mit der Linkspartei, Munich 2007.
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