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So, a sacrificial lamb to be ground up by the gears of the Right, or a canny move to push a relative outsider in these anti-establishment times?

Martin Schulz - from 'pig' to top politician

German politics and Martin Schulz - until now, the connection could be summed up in one word: Würselen. Würselen is a city of 38,000 residents, just north of Aachen, in the west of Germany. It is where 62-year-old Martin Schulz grew up. And it is where he still lives. He was the city's mayor for 11 years, from 1987 until 1998, and ran a bookshop there with his sister.

Until now, Schulz has been a European politician: He was a European parliamentarian, the leader of the center-left Social Democratic Party's (SPD) national group in Europe, and the leader of the EU socialists' block. He was the socialists' top candidate in the 2014 European election, and served as the president of the European Parliament from 2012 to 2017. But now, Schulz has come into the fold as a national politician in Germany.

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Schulz's clear words are perhaps also why he is so surprisingly popular. According to the latest opinion polls, he is as popular among Germans as Chancellor Angela Merkel of the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU). He is also far more popular than SPD leader and current Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel. Now Gabriel wants Schulz to stand as the party's candidate for chancellor. During the 2014 European elections, he took 27.3 percent of the vote in Germany when he ran as the SPD's top EU candidate. It was a better result than Peer Steinbrück received six months earlier as the party's candidate for German chancellor (25.7 percent).

by Zwackus on Wed Jan 25th, 2017 at 02:10:25 AM EST
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