Shortly before the hearing in the SPD proceedings against Gerhard Schröder began, party comrades found clear words: The deputy SPD federal chairman Thomas Kuschaty, for example, sees no future for the former chancellor in the party.

Schröder had “decided himself that the financial and personal dependence on Putin is more important to him than his commitment to the SPD or the legacy of his chancellorship,” Kuschaty told the Rheinische Post.

The hurdles for a party expulsion are very high, and thorough action is rightly taken. “But politically speaking, I can no longer imagine how this could end well without a cut,” said Kuchaty. “An ex-Chancellor who has reason to suspect that he can be bought by a warmonger harms himself, his party and our democracy.”

The oral hearing in the party exclusion proceedings against Schröder will take place in Hanover on Thursday. At the meeting, a total of 17 applications from district and local associations against Schröder will be negotiated.

The majority are aiming for expulsion from the party because of the ex-chancellor’s position on the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine and on President Vladimir Putin, as well as his work for Russian energy companies.

Schröder himself is not expected in person at the appointment. According to the Hanover sub-district, he will probably not be represented either. If necessary, the hearing will continue on Friday. The Arbitration Commission should then make its decision “no later than three weeks after the end of the oral hearing”.