Factbox: Aspiring leaders of Germany's Social Democrats

Reuters 3 weeks ago

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany’s Social Democrats will on Saturday announce the result of a ballot for a new leader to steer them out of protracted turmoil and effectively decide whether to ditch a coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives.

Many members favor a leader who would quit the so-called “grand coalition”, a step that would probably trigger a snap election or a minority government. Following are key facts about the candidates, who ran their campaigns in pairs:

OLAF SCHOLZ AND KLARA GEYWITZ

* Would stay in coalition with Merkel

With Finance Minister and Vice Chancellor Scholz the best known candidate, this is the pairing to beat. Widely seen as uncharismatic but competent, Scholz has a track record of winning elections in the city state of Hamburg, where he was mayor.

He is unpopular with the SPD’s left for sticking to strict fiscal rules introduced by his conservative predecessor as finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble.

Geywitz is barely known but, as a woman from the former Communist eastern state of Brandenburg, she complements Scholz.

NORBERT WALTER-BORJANS AND SASKIA ESKEN

* Say they would end coalition with Merkel

Barely a household name, Walter-Borjans is a former finance minister in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and is best known for pursuing tax evaders with Swiss bank accounts.

Left-winger Esken, from the southwestern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, is even less known.

The leftist youth wing of the SPD, Jusos, backs Walter-Borjans and Esken, and they may be helped by the sheer numbers of SPD members in Germany’s most populous state.

BORIS PISTORIUS AND PETRA KOEPPING

* Want to stay in coalition with Merkel

Pistorius is interior minister in the northern state of Lower Saxony. He has taken a hard line on security issues and pushed a restrictive migrant policy. His partner is Doris Schroeder-Koepf, a former wife of former SPD Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

The little-known Koepping has been equality and integration minister in the eastern state of Saxony.

MICHAEL ROTH AND CHRISTINA KAMPMANN

* Skeptical about staying in coalition with Merkel

Roth, from the western state of Hesse, is European affairs minister in Merkel’s government and on the left of the SPD. Kampmann, no household name, has been family minister in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

RALF STEGNER AND GESINE SCHWAN

* Skeptical about staying in coalition with Merkel

Both left-wingers, the outspoken Stegner is one of the SPD’s deputy leaders. Schwan twice stood for the largely ceremonial post of German president but lost. Some in the SPD criticized her then for courting support from the radical Left party and Greens.

KARL LAUTERBACH AND NINA SCHEER

* Say they would end coalition with Merkel

Lauterbach, usually seen in a bow tie, is on the SPD’s left and is interested in health policy. Scheer, also a leftist, is interested in environment and energy policy.


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Germany's Social Democrats will on Saturday announce the result of a ballot for a new leader to steer them out of protracted turmoil and effectively decide whether to ditch a coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives.
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