- Title: Former EU parliament president poised to become next German chancellor
- Date: 26th January 2017
- Summary: BERLIN, GERMANY (JANUARY 24, 2017) (REUTERS) ****WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** NIGHT EXTERIOR OF SOCIAL DEMOCRATS (SPD) PARTY HEADQUARTERS VARIOUS OF GERMAN VICE CHANCELLOR AND ECONOMY MINISTER SIGMAR GABRIEL SEEN THROUGH WINDOW DURING MEETING AHEAD OF NEWS CONFERENCE GABRIEL AND FORMER EU PARLIAMENT PRESIDENT, MARTIN SCHULZ, ARRIVING FOR NEWS CONFERENCE AT SPD HEADQUARTERS STATUE OF FORMER CHANCELLOR, WILLY BRANDT 5 (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN VICE CHANCELLOR AND ECONOMY MINISTER, SIGMAR GABRIEL, SAYING "Martin Schulz will be the candidate for chancellor of the SPD for the 2017 Bundestag election." LOBBY (SOUNDBITE) (German) FORMER EU PARLIAMENT PRESIDENT AND CANDIDATE FOR GERMAN CHANCELLOR, MARTIN SCHULZ, SAYING: "This country needs a new leadership in these difficult times." STATUE (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN VICE CHANCELLOR AND ECONOMY MINISTER, SIGMAR GABRIEL, SAYING (ASKED: AND WHY AREN'T YOU THE SPD'S CANDIDATE FOR CHANCELLOR? WHAT ARE THE REASONS?): "Because he has the better chances." BERLIN, GERMANY (JANUARY 25, 2017) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF GERMAN PARLIAMENT VARIOUS OF SCHULZ BEING APPLAUDED AS HE ENTERS SPD'S MEETING ROOM IN PARLIAMENT SCHULZ BEING APPLAUDED, WIPING AWAY TEAR AS GABRIEL NEXT TO HIM LOOKS ON WUERSELEN, GERMANY (JANUARY 25, 2017) (REUTERS) VARIOUS STREET SCENES IN WUERSELEN, A SUBURB OF AACHEN ON THE DUTCH BORDER, WHERE SCHULZ GREW UP, BECAME MAYOR AND OPENED A BOOKSTORE VARIOUS EXTERIORS OF BOOKSTORE WHICH SCHULZ RAN UNTIL 1994, THE YEAR HE BECAME A MEMBER OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT SCHULZ BIOGRAPHY ON DISPLAY IN STORE WINDOW, TITLE READING IN GERMAN "MARTIN SCHULZ - FROM BOOK DEALER TO THE MAN FOR EUROPE - THE BIOGRAPHY" SNOW COVERED LOCAL SOCCER GROUND WHERE SCHULZ USED TO PLAY IN CLUB "SV RHENANIA 05 - WUERSELEN" SCHULZ' CHILDHOOD FRIENDS GATHERED IN CLUB HOUSE TROPHY (SOUNDBITE) (German) SCHULZ' CHILDHOOD FRIEND, MANFRED ZITZEN, SAYING: "Offhand I would say he hasn't changed much. His personality stayed the same although he went through difficult times in his youth. But this made him stronger. To me as a friend he remained what he always was. The friendship is still active. We have known each other for 55 years, a long time. I think it's great that when he has the time he returns to Wuerselen to visit his friends."
- Embargoed: 9th February 2017 15:55
- Keywords: Martin Schulz profile candidate chancellor Germany election September childhood soccer
- Location: BERLIN & WUERSELEN & DUISBURG, GERMANY
- City: BERLIN & WUERSELEN & DUISBURG, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA00160PWE2V
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Germany's centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) nominated former European Parliament president Martin Schulz earlier this week as their candidate to run against Angela Merkel for the post of chancellor in September's national election.
The nomination followed party leader Sigmar Gabriel's decision to stand aside for Schulz, a move that shows the SPD is serious about ending its role as a junior partner in Merkel's current right-left coalition after the Sept. 24 vote.
"This country needs a new leadership in these difficult times," Schulz said on Tuesday (January 24).
Opinion polls suggest Schulz, 61, has a better chance than Gabriel of unseating the conservative Merkel, who has led Germany since 2005 and is Europe's most powerful leader.
In Schulz' hometown of Wuerselen outside Aachen and the border with the Netherlands, his childhood friends said "he hasn't changed much."
"His personality stayed the same although he went through difficult times in his youth," said Manfred Zitzen, referring to Schulz' alcohol addiction when he was aged 24.
Zitzen, who has known Schulz for 55 years, said "to me as a friend he remained what he always was. The friendship is still active. I think it's great that when he has the time he returns to Wuerselen to visit his friends."
Franz-Josef Hansen recalled a day in third grade.
"The day before we of course played soccer and didn't do any homework but we were supposed to write an essay. We hadn't written it and it was Martin's turn."
Hansen recounted when Schulz was called on to read out his essay and "spontaneously opened his notebook and read an essay from the empty notebook. He got a 2," Hansen said, referring to the second best mark in Germany, "and nobody noticed, especially not the teacher."
A poll published late on Wednesday (January 25) showed as many Germans would vote for Martin Schulz as for conservative Angela Merkel in a direct vote for chancellor, eight months before federal elections in September.
The Infratest dimap poll for ARD television put both on 41 percent, with support for Merkel down two points from September and for Schulz up five points.
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