Germany: SPD appoints Olaf Scholz to run for chancellery in 2021

Olaf Scholz will have the heavy task of getting his party up in the polls, with a view to the 2021 elections. TOBIAS SCHWARZ / AFP

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With more than a year of the future parliamentary elections in Germany - the first without Angela Merkel - we now know who will wear the colors of the Social Democrats. The SPD has chosen to speed up its competitors and appointed the current Minister of Finance, Olaf Scholz on Monday. A choice without surprise, but the party, at the lowest in the polls, has a heavy handicap to catch up.


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With our correspondent in Berlin , Pascal Thibaut

After the worst defeat of his career, the resurrection, even revenge. Because it was the two co-presidents of the SPD, elected last fall against Olaf Scholz, who announced on Monday that the leadership of the Social Democratic Party had unanimously appointed the Minister of Finance as candidate for the chancellery.

The choice is no surprise because Olaf Scholz has no credible internal competitor. He is the only one to have national government experience. He was twice Minister of Angela Merkel,  between 2005 and 2009 for Social Affairs, and for two and a half years for Finance. At the head of the city of Hamburg, he garnered very high scores for the SPD. Olaf Scholz is also today the most popular Social Democrat in the polls.

Significant delay of the SPD in the polls

He failed last year to take the leadership of the party, rejected by a base who wanted a push to the leftagainst the one who embodied the grand coalition with the right and a strict budgetary policy.

Massive spending to support the economy in the face of the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic has corrected this picture. But Olaf Scholz did not become the idol of the left wing of the SPD .

His biggest handicap, however, remains his party's huge delay in the polls. The SPD is now only third behind the conservatives who are leading the race and the Greens with 15% of voting intentions. Today, Olaf Scholz said despite everything: "  I want to win  ."

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