Martin Schulz, luckless challenger 'shadow-boxing' Merkel

When 61-year-old announced in January he was giving up his role as European Parliament chief to become the Social Democratic Party (SPD) leader and its candidate for chancellor, he was welcomed home with open arms.

Martin Schulz, luckless challenger 'shadow-boxing' Merkel

World Bulletin / News Desk

A high-school dropout who grafted his way into the EU corridors of power, Germany's Martin Schulz is used to battling the odds. But taking on Angela Merkel may be his most unenviable challenge yet.

The so-called "Schulz-effect" saw the Social Democrats surge in the polls, and a YouTube song captured the enthusiasm with the lyrics: "The Schulz train is rolling, and it has no brakes, it's running at full steam to the chancellery."

But with three weeks to go until the vote, it seems the train has run out of steam.

In what by many accounts has been a sleepy campaign season for the September 24 vote, Schulz has struggled to maintain the momentum while Merkel, by doing very little, is more than ever seen as a safe pair of hands in an uncertain world.

The latest survey by pollster Infratest dimap found that 49 percent of Germans would vote for Merkel if the chancellor were elected directly, compared with 26 percent for Schulz.

"Martin Schulz's position is unenviable, that much is true," Berlin's Tagesspiegel newspaper wrote, dubbing him "the shadow-boxer" for his frustrated attempts to spar with Europe's most powerful woman.

Last Mod: 03 Eylül 2017, 11:57
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