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Fate of Koch leadership hangs in the balance

The president of the Social Democratic Party, Ursula Koch, is facing another major test this weekend in her bid to retain her post. A decision will shortly be made on whether to call a special party congress which could unseat her.

This content was published on March 3, 2000 - 10:17

The president of the Social Democratic Party, Ursula Koch, is facing another major test this weekend in her bid to retain her post. A decision will shortly be made on whether to call a special party congress which could unseat her.

A meeting of the party's management committee is being held today to consider the crisis which has wreaked havoc with party unity over the past few weeks. Opponents of Koch, who have criticised her leadership style, have openly called for her resignation.

A key meeting of the party's executive on Saturday will determine whether an extraordinary party congress will be called this summer, ahead of the session already scheduled for October. If five cantonal parties call for the extraordinary session, the most likely date is in June.

Koch has steadfastly refused to step down, despite the calls for her resignation. She has admitted to certain shortcomings, particularly in her handling of communications, but has said she sees no reason to end her three-year tenure of office.

The crisis within the Social Democrats came into the open last month after a meeting of party officials designed to heal the rift in the leadership. A meeting last week effectively postponed debate on the issue, but did set up a three-person committee, including Koch, to look at reforms within the party.

If a special party congress is called for this summer, it will have the powers to elect a new leader or de-select Koch.

From staff and wire reports

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