The rise and fall of Martin Schulz (SPD) may be a lesson for floundering left-wing parties in surrounding countries. Every party sometimes makes a mistake in choosing a party leader, writes Robbert de Witt.
In terms of his appearance, it is difficult to imagine that he was seen as a vote-cannon who would bring the Social Democrats back to power. Because how was this middle-aged man, with his beard, glasses and somewhat portly figure, to reach a young left-wing audience? His long track record as an EU technocrat in Brussels certainly did not make Martin Schulz a ‘fresh newcomer’.
Yet in Germany – and in surrounding countries – views on this were very different in 2017. Almost no one doubted that this chastened President of the European Parliament would lead the SPD in Germany to a resounding election victory. He was elected party leader by his party colleagues with 100 percent of the votes, a miraculous outcome of a not very spectacular career.
It was only when Schulz went to Brussels that he stepped into the spotlight
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