The Social Democratic Party of Germany (German: Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, SPD; [zoˈtsi̯aːldemoˌkʁaːtɪʃə paʁˌtaɪ ˈdɔʏtʃlants]) is a social-democratic, political party in Germany. It is one of the two major contemporary political parties in Germany along with the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU).
Saskia Esken and Norbert Walter-Borjans have been the party's leaders since the 2019 leadership election. The SPD is the second-largest party in the Bundestag with 152 out of 709 seats, having won 20.5% of votes cast at the 2017 federal election. The party is a junior member of the federal government along with the CDU/CSU; this government was first formed after the 2013 election and renewed in 2017. The SPD is a member of 11 of the 16 state governments of Germany, and is a leading partner in seven of them.
The SPD is a member of the Party of European Socialists and sits with the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats group in the European Parliament. With 16 MEPs, it is the third largest party in the group. The SPD was a founding member of the Socialist International, but left in 2013 after criticising its acceptance of authoritarian parties. The party subsequently founded the Progressive Alliance, which 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.
Established in 1863, the SPD is by far the oldest existing political party represented in the Bundestag, and was one of the first Marxist-influenced parties in the world. From the 1890s through the early 20th century, the SPD was Europe's largest Marxist party and was consistently the most popular party in Germany. 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. The SPD played a leading role in the German Revolution of 1918–1919, and was chiefly responsible for the foundation of the Weimar Republic. SPD politician Friedrich Ebert served as the first President of Germany, and the SPD was the strongest party until 1932. After the rise of the Nazi Party to power, the SPD was banned in 1933, and operated in exile as the Sopade.
After the Second World War, the party was re-established. In East Germany, it merged with the Communist Party to form the Socialist Unity Party of Germany. In West Germany, the SPD became one of two major parties alongside the CDU/CSU. In its 1959 Godesberg Program, the party dropped its commitment to Marxism, becoming a big-tent party of the centre-left. The party led the federal government from 1969 to 1982 and again from 1998 to 2005. It served as a junior partner to the CDU/CSU from 1966 to 1969, 2005 to 2009, and again since 2013.
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