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SPD heavyweights reportedly plotting to sideline Beck

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12:09 CET+01:00
Amid a growing revolt against his leadership, top members of Germany's centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) are reportedly planning to keep chairman Kurt Beck from becoming the party's candidate for chancellor in 2009.

Concerned over the direction Beck is taking the party, several high-ranking SPD members – including German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück and former party bosses Matthias Platzeck and Franz Müntefering – are plotting to sideline him in the next general election in favour of German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, according to weekly newsmagazine Der Spiegel.

The reform-oriented wing of the SPD has been angered by Beck's willingness to consider working together with the socialist Left Party, which has its roots in the East German communist party. The Left Party has begun making inroads in western Germany, complicating the Social Democrats' efforts to challenge the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) in both state and federal elections.

But SPD deputy leader Andrea Nahles warned against remaining blind to Germany's changing political landscape. “The Left Party is a political reality, even in the west,” she told Der Spiegel. “Kurt Beck's course is correct. I warn against turning a strategic decision into a debate over which way to go.”

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