Martin Schulz, The Outsider Insider
Social Democrat leader Sigmar Gabriel’s decision to bow out of the race for the chancellorship in favor of Martin Schulz is the perfect antidote to German voters’ frustrations. It will benefit his party, but it is also good news for Europe, as it proves that alternatives to the political status quo do, in fact, exist.
Many German voters are fed up with Angela Merkel, who remains uncontested within her own party. With the SPD currently polling at just 20 percent ahead of a general election in September, even a left-left-left coalition with the Greens and the far left (Die Linke) would not receive more than 40 percent of votes.
This arithmetical stalemate has demoralized supporters of moderate parties and angered voters deeply dissatisfied with Merkel’s policies. No matter how they cast their vote, there hasn’t seemed to be a way of getting rid of her.
Photo credit: Olaf Kosinsky
Some commentators have played down the political effects of the vote, pointing out that the small anti-establishment parties have never been particularly engaged in the European Parliament’s actual work.