Angela Merkel’s CDU party under threat – Rival SPD picks Merkel-like figure for top job

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Ms Merkel will step down from the position next year and ahead of the election, the SDP has picked a figure some have stated is very similar to the German Chancellor. Since forming an alliance with Ms Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union in 2013, the party has fallen behind in the polls. In order to try and restore their position in German politics, the party has put forward Finance Minister, Olaf Scholz as their candidate for the top job.

Some have speculated the Finance Minister was key in shaping the EU’s £675billion coronavirus recovery package.

On his announcement, he insisted it was now time to overcome the economic challenges which face the country.

He said: “A new era is dawning, not only in the sense of shaping the post-coronavirus era, but also what the next decade will be about, and how we shape the future of our country, how we shape the future of Europe.

“This is the bazooka that’s needed to get the job done.

“We are putting all our weapons on the table to show that we are strong enough to overcome any economic challenge that this problem might pose.”

On Monday, the party’s leaders announced the decision: “We know that this decision is an unexpected turn for some.

“We ask for trust in our path.

“We have decided to go this way together.”

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During the pandemic, Mr Scholz was responsible for breaking away from Germany’s usually frugal economic approach.

In June, he announced a €130billion (£116billion) stimulus package to help the economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Due to this time as Finance Minister, Mr Scholz is also seen as someone who may be able to help the German economy recover in the long-term. 

In the first quarter of the year, Germany’s GDP dropped by 2.2 percent.

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Although the government hopes the stimulus package may help the economy recover, GDP is expected to shrink by 6.3 percent in the nation’s worst recession since the Second World War.

The Munich-based economic research institute, Ifo has stated one in five companies are at risk of failure.

Stefan Sauer, an IFO researcher, said: “We could see a wave of insolvencies in the coming months.”

The current Chancellor will meet with President Emmanuel Macron to discuss the future of Europe on August 20.

The meeting is the latest in a strengthening relationship relation between France and Germany.

Ray Bassett, Ireland’s former ambassador to Canada, Jamaica and the Bahamas claimed there will be renewed calls for a European army.

He added: “As the US becomes more wary of foreign adventurism, some within the EU want to fill the vacuum left by Uncle Sam.

“To do that, they want a European army, with a large European industrial-military complex in support.”

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