Angela Merkel’s future at risk as SPD leadership vote goes to second round – News 247

Angela Merkel’s future at risk as SPD leadership vote goes to second round  – News 247

 Germany’s Social Democrats (SDP) voted in the majority for Finance Minister and Vice-Chancellor Olaf Scholz as the party’s new leader with 22 7 percent of the polls. However, as no-one received 50 percent of the vote, Mr Scholz will now face a run-off against the second-highest duo according to the party  In total 426,000 SPD members were polled, with Mr Scholz taking 22.7 percent of the vote  He was closely followed by Norbert Walter-Borjans and Saskia Esken at 21.04 percent  Now the two will face off in a runoff vote, as none of the duos received more than 50 percent of the vote  The second ballot will take place in the latter half of November. READ MORE Merkel on brink: Fragile coalition at risk as SPD chooses new leader  The result of the membership decision must then be confirmed by a party convention in early December  This result pits the supporter of the coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel against a sceptic of that arrangement  Any new leader will face a difficult time as the SPD are currently polling at around 14 percent, just off all-time lows  The party had been leaderless since June when Andrea Nahles quit after the party’s worst result in a European election  Many SPD members want the party to exit the alliance with Mrs Merkel and reinvent itself in opposition  As Mrs Merkel’s junior partner in 10 of the 14 years she has led Europe’s biggest economy, they say the SPD has compromised too much on policy  Walking out would likely trigger a risky snap election or possibly a minority government – both unappealing options  All candidates for the leadership ran in pairs and two of these, including Mr Scholz and his running mate Klara Geywitz, want to stay in the coalition   READ MORE Germany tumbles into recession as economy hit hard by Brexit  Two others – both on the party’s left – are against, including second place in tonight’s vote, Norbert Walter-Borjans from Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia  Few of the candidates are household names and analysts say the protracted leadership campaign has merely highlighted the lack of quality in the top ranks of the party  Any new leader will have to unite a party that has been bitterly divided between leftists and centrists since former SPD Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s welfare and labour market reforms 15 years ago  Facing a surge in support for the Greens on the left and with the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) collecting protest votes, the decline of the pro-European party proud of chancellors including Willy Brandt has been dramatic  It has lost two-thirds of its support since 1998 and its leaders have failed to find an answer to Merkel In the 2017 federal election, its share of the vote fell to its lowest level since 1933  Mr Scholz was seen as a front-runner in the election, but was widely seen as unable to achieve the 50 percent to avoid a runoff vote  Support for the CDU coalition was seen as a key issue for voters in the leadership vote  Second-place contenders Mr Walter-Boryans and Ms Esken have been sceptical of the future of the coalition  The coalition is expected to remain in place until the next general election, which is not due to be held in Germany until 2022

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