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Germany’s SPD debates  expelling ex-chancellor Schröder

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Germany’s centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) are formally debating the possible expulsion of disgraced former chancellor Gerhard Schröder from the party on Thursday over his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The discussions would take place in the northern city of Hanover, with local party official Christoph Matterne saying that 17 motions for expulsion had been received from the party that fulfilled the formal criteria.

However, a decision by the arbitration commission was  not expected on Thursday. Expulsion from the party was deemed unlikely within the SPD for legal reasons.

The former chancellor, who was in office from  1998 and 2005, had been criticised for years for his involvement with Russian state-owned companies and was considered a close personal friend of Mr Putin.

The pressure on Mr Schröder to distance himself from Mr Putin increased after the invasion of Ukraine.

In May, Mr Schröder finally announced that he would leave the supervisory board of the Russian energy giant Rosneft.

He also turned down a nomination for a supervisory board position at Gazprom.

Several days ago, Mr Schröder told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper that he would not relinquish “opportunities for talks with President Putin.”

According to the report, Mr Schröder said he did not believe in a military solution in Ukraine and asked why the focus was on supplying weapons.

“The war can only be ended through diplomatic negotiations,” he was quoted as saying. 

(dpa/NAN)

Source: GazetteNGR

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