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Scholz Named SPD Chancellor Pick in Race to Succeed Merkel

  • Finance minister shrugs off defeat in party leadership contest
  • Accord on Scholz candidacy rare show of unity in divided party
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German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz secured the backing of the Social Democratic leadership to run for the chancellery in next year’s election, an early move by the struggling party to position itself in the contest to replace Angela Merkel.

The decision Monday was a rare show of unity from the Social Democrats -- the junior partners in Merkel’s ruling coalition. A leadership race sidelined Scholz in 2019 by installing two relative unknowns from the political left to head the party, and it has suffered a string of electoral setbacks in recent years.