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Germany

Social Democrats Elect Matthias Platzeck Party Chairman

Germany's Social Democrats (SPD) overwhelmingly elected Brandenburg Premier Matthias Platzeck party chairman Tuesday.

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Platzeck will have to juggle his new job with running his home state

The 51-year-old received 512 of the 515 delegates' votes at the SPD party conference in Karlsruhe. Two party members voted no and one abstained. The result, 99.4 percent in favor of Platzeck, was one of the highest ever achieved for a new party chair, only topped in the late 1940s by Kurt Schumacher.

Platzeck will be the first person from former communist Germany to act as the party's chair. He assumes the top SPD leadership post following Franz Müntefering's resignation after losing an internal party battle over who would be the next secretary general.

Müntefering was party chairman for only 20 months, succeeding Chancellor Gerhard Schröder in the position. On Monday, Müntefering was confirmed by his party as designated deputy chancellor in a coalition government led by Chrisitian Democrat Angela Merkel.

The SPD delegates will vote on additional party personnel, including secretary general and executive board, later in the day.

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