The North Rhine-Westphalian SPD party leader Thomas Kutschaty has resigned. The 54-year-old said at noon in Düsseldorf after a crisis switch of the SPD state board that he had informed the state board that he was stepping down as SPD chairman on Thursday.

The trigger for the resignation was a controversial personnel decision by Kuchaty, with which he was unable to assert himself. Since the SPD’s defeat in the North Rhine-Westphalia state elections in May 2022, there had already been internal criticism of Kuchaty, who had failed as the top candidate.

Kuchaty told journalists on Thursday that he made a proposal for the position of Secretary General on Wednesday, which was not approved. “I draw the conclusions from this and can tell you that an hour ago I informed the state executive of my party that I am resigning as chairman of the North Rhine-Westphalian SPD today.”

The SPD presidium unanimously rejected Kutschaty’s proposal to make the largely unknown Bonn resident Magdalena Möhlenkamp the new general secretary, according to the SPD state executive.

All SPD regional chairmen also rejected Kuchaty’s proposal and criticized the procedure, it said. Provincial executive circles then said that Kuchaty had “not shown any leadership qualities” and had failed as party leader.

The NRW-SPD wants to elect a new party leadership at their party conference in Münster on May 6th. Kuschaty had previously confirmed that he wanted to continue and continue to take responsibility at the head of the NRW SPD.

The 54-year-old was confirmed in June 2022 with a large majority as leader of the state parliamentary group. The lawyer from Essen is also deputy SPD federal chairman.

In the state elections in mid-May 2022, the Social Democrats in North Rhine-Westphalia fell to an all-time low of 26.7 percent (2017: 31.2). NRW is governed by a black-green coalition, before that there was an alliance of CDU and FDP.