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EU election fiasco: Head of German Social Dems & Merkel’s coalition partner to step down

EU election fiasco: Head of German Social Dems & Merkel’s coalition partner to step down
Andrea Nahles said she will resign as the leader of Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD). It comes a week after the establishment parties took a big hit, losing the combined majority in the EU elections.

Nahles announced that she will step as down as SPD leader and the head of its group in the national parliament on Tuesday.

Some local media cited sources saying that Nahles is also considering giving up her seat in the parliament and quitting politics altogether.

Writing in a farewell letter to her colleagues, she said that she does not believe there is enough support for herself anymore.

The discussions… and the large amount of feedback from the party have shown me that there is no longer support for me in holding these offices.

The Social Democrats have been longtime coalition partners with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), with which they have formed ruling governments.

Chosen as party chief a year ago, Nahles led the SPD during the European Parliament elections in late May. The results were utterly disappointing for centrist parties across the continent, as the pro-European bloc EPP and the Social Democratic alliance S&D (which Germany’s Social Democrats are members of) lost their combined majority for the first time.

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On the other hand, various anti-establishment and Eurosceptic parties, along with the Greens and Liberals, gained more seats during the vote. In its home country, the SPD was significantly outperformed by the Alliance 90/The Greens, losing a total of 11 seats in the European Parliament. Right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) meanwhile won four extra seats.

Both the Social Democrats and their coalition partner, the CDU, have seen their support dwindle in federal and local elections in recent years as well. This coincided with the steady growth in popular appeal for the AfD. The party, which is highly critical of the government’s migration policy, entered the Bundestag in 2017 and eventually won seats in all local parliaments.

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