Sunday, 25 August, 2019

Leader of German Social Democrats resigns after vote fiasco

36cc796b Chief of Merkel's junior coalition partner resigns
Patty Aguilar | 03 June, 2019, 06:54

Andrea Nahles has announced she will resign as leader of Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD).

The centre-left party fell to third place behind Merkel's CDU bloc and the Greens in last month's European Parliament elections.

Andreas Nahles said in a statement: "The discussions in the parliamentary group and the broad feedback from the party showed me that the support necessary for the exercise of my offices is no longer there".

The SPD's meltdown comes as Mrs Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) held emergency talks last night after her worst election results and polling at the weekend that put her party behind the Greens for the first time.

The coalition between the CDU and the SPD is due to last until federal elections in 2021, but correspondents say Ms Nahles's resignation could lead to the SPD leaving, triggering a snap poll.

Mrs Merkel said she respected the "far-reaching" decision by Andrea Nahles.

"The election for the party leadership is likely to be a vote on the grand coalition", said Henrik Enderlein, president of the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin.

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She had been criticised by the SPD's left for remaining in the coalition.

And on Saturday, an opinion poll showed that support for the SPD was the lowest it had ever been, at just 12%.

Earlier, German vice chancellor Olaf Scholz told Tagesspiegel that he had ruled out entering another grand coalition as the SPD seeks to regroup.

Mrs Merkel has already said she will not fight another election, and there is no obvious alternative coalition partner.

"I assume the SPD will undergo a succession in short order without hindrance to the functioning of the grand coalition", she said.

"I am very sure that it would not be justifiable for us to have a fifth grand coalition", Scholz said in an interview published before Nahles' announcement.

Last week, German weekly Bild am Sonntag reported that former SPD leader Martin Schulz wanted to replace Ms Nahles as head of the parliamentary party.

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