Merkel to Face Off Against SPD Challenger in September TV Debate

  • Only TV clash planned between German chancellor, SPD’s Schulz
  • Contest set three weeks before nation’s Sept. 24 election

Angela Merkel, Germany's chancellor, speaks during a news conference with Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (not pictured) at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017.

Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Social Democratic challenger, Martin Schulz, will face off in a single television debate on Sept. 3, three weeks before national elections.

The nationally televised, 90-minute debate between the two front runners will take place live during prime time on that Sunday evening, public broadcaster ARD said in a statement. Germany began holding candidates’ debates in 2002, making this year the fifth election cycle to feature such a clash.

Merkel is seeking a fourth term as chancellor in the Sept. 24 election, while Schulz is aiming to restore the SPD to power for the first time since Merkel took office since 2005. Five successive polls in April have suggested that the chancellor’s Christian Democratic-led bloc would win the most votes if the election were held now.

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