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Germany's SPD elects Schulz as Merkel's challenger

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Germany's SPD elects Schulz as Merkel's challenger
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Germany’s centre-left SPD has confirmed Martin Schulz as the party’s new leader and candidate to take on Chancellor Angela Merkel in upcoming elections.

The former president of the European Parliament was unanimously chose by delegates at the party’s congress in Berlin.

Addressing the SPD’s rank and file, Schulz vowed, if elected in September’s election, to be a staunch defender of democratic values.

‘‘We do not need to go to the USA to see the attempt to turn back the clock of freedom . Look at Turkey, look at Hungary, look at Poland! Every day they become bolder against our democracy. You have in the SPD the most decisive enemy that is possible in this country,’‘ Schulz declared.

Merkel’s chief challenger has given the SPD a huge boost since taking over from Sigmar Gabriel.

The latest polls put the party almost neck and neck with the ruling Christian Democrats, who had until recently enjoyed a double digit lead.