The German finance minister and vice chancellor, Olaf Scholz, will stand as a candidate to lead the German Social Democratic Party, according to reports in the German press on Friday. Sholz is the first heavyweight to put his name forward since Andrea Nahles stepped down as leader last June, leaving the party in an acute existential crisis. A transition period was then opened that should end in early December with the appointment of a new candidate.
Scholz had defended previously ruled himself out of the leadership race on the grounds that his ministerial position did not allow him enough time to lead the party. But according to the German press, he has now changed his mind.
“I would be prepared to fight for the job if you want me to do it,” he told the members of the troika who are running the party on an interim basis. Scholz would seek in principle a couple to form a double candidacy, as other applicants who have been announcing themselves in recent weeks have done.
Leading the SPD has become a little desired job in recent months, due to the succession of electoral defeats that have battered morale in the party, which has been displaced by the Greens as the second largest party in the country.
The current polls grant the SPD only 12 percent of the voting intention.
While Sholz has always secured good election results in Hamburg, he has never been especially popular among the SPD base. And while all his rivals in the race for the presidency of the party camping on breaking the ‘Grosse Koalition’ with the Merkel’s conservatives to allow their party to regenerate and seek alternative alliances on the left to govern, Scholz, continues to defend coalition.