Social Democratic Party of Germany

The Social Democratic Party of Germany (German: Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, [zoˈtsi̯aːldemoˌkʁaːtɪʃə paʁˌtaɪ ˈdɔʏtʃlants]; SPD, German pronunciation: [ɛspeːˈdeː] (listen)) is a centre-left social democratic[2][3][4] political party in Germany. It is one of the major parties of contemporary Germany.

Social Democratic Party of Germany
Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands
General SecretaryKevin Kühnert
Deputy Leaders
Founded27 May 1875; 147 years ago (1875-05-27)
Merger of
HeadquartersWilly-Brandt-Haus D-10911 Berlin
Student wingJuso-Hochschulgruppen
Youth wingYoung Socialists in the SPD
Women's wingAssociation of Social Democratic Women
LGBT+ wingSPDqueer
Paramilitary wingReichsbanner Schwarz-Rot-Gold (1924–33)
Membership (2023) 380,000[1]
IdeologySocial democracy
Political positionCentre-left
European affiliationParty of European Socialists
International affiliationProgressive Alliance
European Parliament groupProgressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
Colours  Red
206 / 736
19 / 69
State parliaments
481 / 1,884
European Parliament
16 / 96
Heads of State Governments
8 / 16
Party flag

Saskia Esken has been the party's leader since the 2019 leadership election together with Lars Klingbeil, who joined her in December 2021. After Olaf Scholz was elected chancellor in 2021 the SPD became the leading party of the federal government, which the SPD formed with the Greens and the Free Democratic Party, after the 2021 federal election. The SPD is a member of 11 of the 16 German state governments and is a leading partner in seven of them.

The SPD was established in 1863. It was one of the earliest Marxist-influenced parties in the world. From the 1890s through the early 20th century, the SPD was Europe's largest Marxist party, and the most popular political party in Germany.[5] During the First World War, the party split between a pro-war mainstream and the anti-war Independent Social Democratic Party, of which some members went on to form the Communist Party of Germany (KPD). The SPD played a leading role in the German Revolution of 1918–1919 and was responsible for the foundation of the Weimar Republic. SPD politician Friedrich Ebert served as the first president of Germany.

After the rise of the Nazi Party to power, the SPD was the only party present in the Reichstag to vote against the Enabling Act of 1933; the SPD was subsequently banned, and operated in exile as the Sopade. After the Second World War, the SPD was re-established. In East Germany, it was forced to merge with the KPD to form the Socialist Unity Party of Germany. In West Germany, the SPD became one of two major parties alongside the CDU/CSU. In the Godesberg Program of 1959, the SPD dropped its commitment to Marxism, becoming a big tent party of the centre-left. The SPD led the federal government from 1969 to 1982, 1998 to 2005 and again since 2021. It served as a junior partner to a CDU/CSU led government from 1966 to 1969, 2005 to 2009 and from 2013 to 2021.

The SPD holds pro-EU stances and is a member of the Party of European Socialists and sits with the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats group in the European Parliament.[6][7] With 16 MEPs, it is the third largest party in the group. The SPD was a founding member of the Socialist International, but the party left in 2013 after criticising its acceptance of parties they consider to be violating human rights.[8] The SPD subsequently founded the Progressive Alliance[9][10][11] and was joined by numerous other parties around the world. Previously, the SPD was a founding member of both the Second International and the Labour and Socialist International.

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