The leader of Germany’s center-left Social Democrats, a junior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing coalition, yesterday announced her resignation, following days of speculation over the fallout from the party’s debacle in the European Parliament election.
Social Democrats Chairwoman Andrea Nahles said she wanted “clarity” after questions were raised about her ability to lead the party.
“The necessary support for me to carry out my duties isn’t there anymore,” she said in a statement.
Nahles said she will be stepping down from her post as chairwoman and leader of its parliamentary faction in the coming days, to ensure that her successors are found “in an orderly fashion.”
The Social Democrats fell to third place behind Merkel’s center-right Union bloc and the Greens in last month’s European Parliament election in Germany.
Nahles took over as party leader in February last year, as the Social Democrats reluctantly extended their “grand coalition” with Merkel’s conservatives following a poor showing in the previous year’s German election.
While the Social Democrats have managed to push through their agenda of improving social welfare and working conditions for millions of Germans, voters have not rewarded the party for it in the polls.
An election loss last week in the Social Democrats’ longtime bastion of Bremen and the prospect of further defeats in upcoming regional votes in eastern Germany this fall has alarmed many in the party.
The Social Democrats plan to hold a midterm review of the coalition with Merkel’s bloc later this year, raising the prospect of an early end to the coalition.
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