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在线翻译:
szdaily -> World -> 
Merkel’s future in doubt after SPD leadership change
    2019-12-03  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

THE future of Germany’s ruling coalition — and by extension the chancellorship of Angela Merkel — is uncertain after the election of new leaders of the Social Democrats (SPD).

Merkel’s SPD vice chancellor, Olaf Scholz, suffered a stinging defeat in his bid to lead the party as members voted to install Norbert Walter-Borjans and lawmaker Saskia Esken, who have been vocal in opposing the unloved alliance with Merkel. The terms of the new leadership will be determined at a three-day party conference starting Friday.

The SPD is more likely to put forward a set of demands, such as abandoning Merkel’s cherished balanced-budget stance and raising Germany’s minimum wage. Some may be red lines for Merkel’s Christian Democratic-led bloc.

Speaking on public broadcaster ARD on Sunday, Walter-Borjans said raising investments and scratching temporary job contracts were issues that needed to be addressed.

“If the coalition partner then takes an obstructive approach for these new tasks then you have to make a decision that it cannot continue,” he said.

“I never said we need to leave,” Walter-Borjans, a former finance minister of North Rhine-Westphalia state, said after the ballot’s result was announced. “We must improve the policies and perhaps loosen the black zero,” he said, referring to Merkel’s budget pledge.

Scholz, Merkel’s finance minister who along with regional politician Klara Geywitz, was defeated by a margin of 53 percent to 45 percent.

He pledged to support his party’s new leadership and they, in turn, said they expect him to continue in his government position.

The rebellion against the SPD establishment pushes Merkel a step closer to the exit after 14 years in power and leaves Europe’s biggest economy approaching a crossroads.

Growth has faltered and populism is on the rise, while the chancellor has been overshadowed by French President Emmanuel Macron.

The decision signals a prolonged phase of political uncertainty in Germany that could hamper the European Union’s efforts to chart a path forward after Brexit and to wield its influence on the global stage.

Merkel said last year that she wouldn’t run again but intends to serve out her term ending in 2021. (SD-Agencies)

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