The Berlin SPD has started its member survey on the future dual leadership. Since Saturday, around 18,000 party members have had the opportunity to choose between three duos of applicants. Voting is possible online or by post until April 19th at 10 p.m. A day later, the SPD wants to count and announce the result of the vote.

Three teams of two are applying for the new dual leadership. The acting co-chairman and SPD parliamentary group leader Raed Saleh is running together with the district politician Luise Lehmann from Marzahn-Hellersdorf. Neukölln’s district mayor Martin Hikel is applying together with former state secretary Nicola Böcker-Giannini. The third team is made up of state vice-president Kian Niroomand and the co-chair of the Berlin SPD women, Jana Bertels.

If none of the three duos gets an absolute majority, a second round with the two best placed would follow from May 2nd to 17th. The party leadership will be finally elected based on the results of the member survey at a party conference on May 25th. Although the members’ vote is not legally binding for the party conference, a different vote by the delegates is practically impossible.

Since November 2020, the Berlin SPD has been led by Saleh and Economics Senator Franziska Giffey. Giffey, mayor until April 2023, is not running for party office again. Background: In May 2023, the delegates at an SPD state party conference decided that in the future the dual leadership should “not entirely” consist of people who also play a key role in the government.

At the time, the decision was a consequence of the Social Democrats’ historically poor result in the repeat election to the House of Representatives in February 2023. With 18.4 percent, the SPD ended up far behind the CDU, with which it now governs as a junior partner. The election result with Giffey as the top candidate manifested a negative trend for the SPD that has been going on for many years.

Against this background, there is dispute and uncertainty in the party about the future course that the capital’s SPD should take under new leadership. This has also become clear in the internal party election campaign so far. Hikel and Böcker-Giannini as well as Niroomand and Bertels criticized the previous dual leadership Giffey/Saleh and called for a consistent new beginning.

Information from the SPD on procedures and dates up to the party congress, applicant page Lehmann/Saleh applicant page Bertels/Niroomand applicant page Böcker-Giannini/Hikel