Former European Parliament chief Schulz to run against Merkel

Martin Schulz is set to stand against chancellor Angela Merkel in the German elections this September

24 January 2017, 6:41pm
Former European Parliament president Martin Schulz
Former European Parliament president Martin Schulz
Former European Parliament president Martin Schulz has emerged as the favourite to stand against Angela Merkel in the German elections in September.

Sigmar Gabriel, leader of Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SDP), said on Tuesday that he would not stand in the upcoming election and instead put Schulz forward as the party’s candidate for chancellor.

“There are two basic requirements to lead a successful election campaign: the party must believe in the candidate and gather behind him, and the candidate himself must want it with every fibre of his heart,” Gabriel said in an interview with Germany’s Stern magazine. “Neither of these apply to me in suffiicent measure.”

The SDP has been in coalition with Merkel’s centre-right Christian Democratic Union party since 2013. Opinion polls suggest that Schulz has a better chance than Gabriel of unseating Merkel, who has been Germany’s chancellor since 2005.

Schulz was elected President of the European Parliament in 2012, but recently stepped down to return to national politics.

He has been a vocal critic of Brexit, warning that the vote could lead to the “mutual humilation” of both the UK and the EU.