Schulz faces uphill task to unseat Merkel


Schulz faces uphill task to unseat Merkel
Schulz: Credit for success should not be Merkel's alone.

Berlin - Schulz also noted that his Social Democrats are currently Merkel's junior coalition partner in government


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Published: Sun 13 Aug 2017, 9:06 PM

Last updated: Sun 13 Aug 2017, 11:14 PM

Angela Merkel's main challenger in the country's upcoming general election said on Sunday he remains confident he can unseat the chancellor despite her wide lead in the polls.
Martin Schulz, who was president of the European Parliament until January, said on Germany's ZDF television's "Berlin Direkt" programme that there are still six weeks of campaigning to go before the September 24 vote.
"I think that I still have a good chance to lead the next government," he said.
Still, with Germany enjoying record-low unemployment, a balanced budget and a strong economy, the 61-year-old Schulz faces an uphill battle to defeat Merkel and was challenged in the 15-minute interview to say why people should vote for his party over her Christian Democrats.
"Germany is doing well... but the statement that Germany is doing well doesn't mean that all Germans are doing well," he said. "We must be much better in many areas."
Schulz also noted that his Social Democrats are currently Merkel's junior coalition partner in government, and that credit for successes should not be hers alone. He said he'd be happy to form another so-called grand coalition after the election, but "under my leadership."
Schulz said there needs to be more investment in digital infrastructure, training programs, and help for lower-income families struggling to make ends meet. Asked why a voter should "take a risk" to vote Merkel out, he said: "it's the opposite; we are taking a risk if we do nothing."
The latest poll showed Schulz's Social Democrats gaining a percentage point to 24 per cent support, compared to a steady 38 per cent support for Merkel's conservative bloc. The margin of error was plus or minus 2.5 per cent.
Schulz struggled at times during the interview to differentiate his positions from those of Merkel, saying, for example, that he would not argue with the chancellor's call for a de-escalation of rhetoric between the US and North Korea and ruling out of a military solution. - AP

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