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Social Democrats' Ursula Koch vows to fight on

The president of the Social Democratic party, Ursula Koch, has reaffirmed that she has no intention of resigning. However, she has admitted that the party is in need of far-reaching structural reform.

This content was published on February 27, 2000 - 15:42

The president of the Social Democratic party, Ursula Koch, has reaffirmed that she has no intention to resign. However, she has admitted that the party is in need of far-reaching structural reform.

During an interview with the German-language radio station DRS at the weekend, Koch stated forcefully that she would not quit. Although she admitted that it would have a calming effect on the party if she were to step down, she emphasised that such a move would not solve fundamental problems.

However, she admitted that "scheming" within the party had been stressful and had left her upset. During the interview, she was momentarily forced to leave the microphone in order to regain her composure.

The crisis within the party has been simmering for some time, but recently reached a head with calls for Koch and the party's secretary general, Jean Francois Steiert, to work together or step down. Koch's leadership style has been repeatedly questioned and she has been accused of failing to fulfil promises made during her 1997 leadership campaign.

The party executive is due to meet in emergency session on Saturday 4th March to try to find a solution to end the infighting. It follows a meeting of the party's management committee last week, which was attended by a number of Koch's opponents.

The executive must decide whether a party conference scheduled for October should be brought forward, or whether an emergency congress should be held in June.

Meanwhile, the management committee has agreed to set up a working group, to formulate proposals on modernising the party's structure as rapidly as possible.

From staff and wire reports

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