- Hesse SPD boss Thorsten Schäfer Gümbel wants to information of the South German newspaper leave politics.
- In the state election in 2018, the Social Democrats had to take their worst result of the post-war period.
- Schäfer-Gümbel had been party leader since 2009 and had fought three times as a top candidate in vain for the premiership.
Five months after the painful defeat of the Hessian Social Democrats in the state election, their boss Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel has decided to withdraw from politics. According to information of South German newspaper Schäfer-Gümbel wants to resign from his post as head of parliament in the Wiesbaden Landtag at the end of September, as well as his parliamentary mandate. At the state party conference in the fall, he does not want to re-run for the post of chairman and at the federal party convention of the SPD not for re-election as vice-chairman. The 49-year-old will allegedly take a job in a state organization. The most promising successor to both posts is State Secretary Nancy Faeser.
Schäfer-Gümbel wanted to inform according to information from party circles in the course of Tuesday first the parliamentary group and then the public about his decision, which is not completely surprising. The native Bavarian, who came to Hesse as a child and grew up in Gießen, had tried in vain to become prime minister in Wiesbaden three times. In the latest election in late October 2018, the Social Democrats had calculated good odds, but had to plug at 19.8 percent their worst result of the post-war period.
Schäfer-Gümbel and the party were mainly responsible for the then poor appearance of the federal SPD and the grand coalition in Berlin. Since then, Schäfer-Gümbel has kept his personal plans for the future open and announced a decision by autumn. That he would run for a fourth time as a top candidate, was considered unlikely.
Schäfer-Gümbel has been the opposition leader in the state parliament since 2009 and has since been at the head of the party. He had taken over both offices after the debacle over ex-chief Andrea Ypsilanti, who had failed spectacularly with their plans to form a red-red-green government in Wiesbaden on the resistance from their own ranks. Schäfer-Gümbel had united the then deeply divided party, but could not lead them back to power in their former stronghold of Hesse.
The last SPD Prime Minister of the country was the later Federal Finance Minister Hans Eichel. For 20 years now, the country has been governed by CDU politicians, first by Roland Koch, now by Volker Bouffier, who leads a black-green coalition.