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Germany’s Social Democrats to announce next leader


Germany’s Social Democrats to announce next leader

The Reichstag building seen from the west. Berlin, Germany
Photo: Matthew Field/Wikimedia Commons

Today, Germany’s Social Democrat Party (SPD) will release the results of a member vote to decide its next leader. The final decision will be presented at the party-convention this December.

For one of the candidates to advance today, they must win more than half of the member vote, otherwise there will be a runoff between the top two candidates.

This marks the first time since 1993 that the SPD has held a member vote. The party’s unconventional path to choose its next leader comes after its worst ever performance in European Parliamentary elections in May. Further complicating matters, strong internal divides remain regarding support for the coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc.

Based on polling, it is unlikely that a clear winner will emerge today. While Finance Minister Olaf Scholz leads the pack, European Affairs Minister Michael Roth and Schleswig-Holstein SPD leader Ralf Stegner, among others, are polling well. While the party is presenting itself as pro-EU and has criticised the rise of authoritarianism around the world, it remains fragmented on how to best bolster the EU. Regardless of who ultimately leads the party, they will be tasked with distinguishing the SPD from Merkel’s conservative backing, which has tarnished the party’s image among its traditional base.

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