German Social Democrat Leader Quits After Poor EU Election Result

Andrea Nahles, leader of Germany's social democratic SPD party, speaks during a press conference following her party's leadership meeting in Berlin on May 27, 2019, one day after European parliamentary elections. - Voters handed German Chancellor Merkel's conservative CDU party and its centre-left coalition partner the Social Democratic Party (SPD) …

German Social Democrats (SPD) member Andrea Nahles has quit her position as leader of her party following a disastrous showing at the European elections, with the party moving to appoint three people to replace her.

The three leaders are scheduled to stand in the interim until the party is able to decide on a replacement for the former leader. Nahles made a shock announcement over the weekend claiming that she did not have the internal support to continue on as the head of the SPD, avoiding a planned vote on her leadership that was to take place on Tuesday, Die Welt reports.

The resignation comes after the SPD saw their European election results wither from 27.2 percent in 2014 to just 15.8 percent, with the Green party overtaking them and finishing in second place behind the Christian Democratic Union (CSU) of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The resignation of Nahles also casts doubt on the continuation of the grand coalition between the CDU along with their sister party, the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), and the SPD.

According to Die Welt, the resignation could trigger a “chain reaction” with several possibilities emerging, such as a continuation of the current coalition, an attempt by Chancellor Merkel to form a new coalition with the Greens, Merkel to resign as Chancellor and allow new party leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer to head the government, or possible fresh national elections.

If a new election were to occur, recent polling suggests that the German political landscape could see radical change as a poll from Forsa released over the weekend saw the Greens surge past Merkel’s CDU/CSU for the first time ever.

The results for the SPD in the European elections have been part of a broader trend for the party and for other social democrat parties across Europe in recent years. Many have seen a decline in votes such as the Swedish Social Democrats who saw their worst ever result in a European election this year.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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