Germany’s SPD rejects calls to expel former chancellor

Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD) decided not to expel former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on Monday, saying he did not violate party rules.

The party's arbitration body has determined that there are no grounds to expel Schroeder over his ties to Russian companies and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The decision was taken by an arbitration committee in the northern city of Hanover.

The committee had been evaluating the decision for several weeks after it received 17 motions for Schroder's expulsion from different regional organizations of the party.

The decision can be appealed within two weeks.

Schroeder, who had described Putin as his "friend," has come under heavy criticism after Russia’s military operations in Ukraine because of his close ties with Moscow and Putin.

Russia's war on Ukraine has generated strong public pressure for the former chancellor to also break off relations with Russia's energy giants.

Germany’s parliament in May decided to remove Schroeder’s office and staff following growing pressure from the media and pro-Ukrainian politicians.

Last week, Schroder called for negotiations with Putin, saying "the good news is that the Kremlin wants a negotiated settlement."

He also urged Berlin to reconsider its position on the new Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which is ready to pump gas but had its operation blocked by the German government.

The 78-year-old Social Democrat served as chancellor from 1998 to 2005.

Source: Anadolu Agency