Berlin (AFP) – Former European Parliament chief Martin Schulz on Sunday will unveil his battle plan to challenge Chancellor Angela Merkel in Germany’s general election in September, hoping a wave of popularity will help him shake up the race.
The former bookseller, who has spent the past two decades in Brussels, was catapulted to the frontline of German politics this week after the little-loved leader of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), Sigmar Gabriel, announced he was standing aside to make way for Schulz.
Schulz’s surprise entry into the race provided the party with an immediate boost.
An ARD poll showed support for the SPD climbing from 20 to 23 percent, while Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU block lost two points, to 35 percent.
A separate poll by the same public broadcaster found that if voters could elect their chancellor directly, Schulz and Merkel would be neck-and-neck.