Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) will probably pick Sigmar Gabriel to run against conservative Angela Merkel for chancellor in September’s federal election, according to senior party sources.
“There’s no way around Sigmar Gabriel as candidate for chancellor at this point,” one senior party source told the Reuters news agency.
“The likelihood is very, very, very high that Gabriel will be the candidate for chancellor,” a second source and member of the party’s executive committee added.
Gabriel, 57, is vice chancellor and economy minister in Merkel’s right-left coalition. He became SPD chairman in November 2009 and is also one of the party’s longest-serving leaders.
According to Reuters, some SPD party members had hoped that Martin Schulz, the former president of the European Parliament, would be named as the top candidate in the election, with polls showing he would get more votes than Gabriel in a matchup with Merkel.
Gabriel currently trails Merkel in popularity ratings.