Germany centre-left party set to confirm first female leader


BERLIN: Germany’s centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) executive was set to meet on Tuesday, and was expected to appoint Andrea Nahles as its first female leader after Martin Schulz stood down amid turmoil in the party over a new coalition deal.

Nahles, who is the leader of the party’s parliamentary faction, still has to be confirmed in the office of president at a party conference to be held within three months.

The party has been forced to act swiftly to fill the vacancy left by Schulz as it prepares for a make-or-break vote by the more than 460,000 members on whether to accept or reject the coalition deal with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc.

Nahles, 47, shot to national political fame during the fraught days of the last SPD government 15 years ago when, as a left-wing lawmaker, she helped lead a party rebellion against its tough social reforms.

An SPD member since she was 18, Nahles is credited with helping to swing her divided party behind agreeing to take up the coalition talks with a passionate speech at a special party conference in January.