Former European Parliament president Martin Schulz has the total support of his party to challenge Angela Merkel in the German elections – literally.
Countless party leaders have received heartfelt public pledges of allegiance before being forced out of office weeks, days or even hours later.
But Schulz can boast (and has) that he has the 100% support of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD).
— Martin Schulz (@MartinSchulz) March 19, 2017
He won 605 of a possible 605 votes from delegates at a special conference held in Berlin to decide the party’s leader and candidate for Chancellor in September’s federal election.
Schulz was the only choice, but no other candidate has ever been elected without at least a couple of dissenters in the party’s post-war history.
Kurt Schumacher came the closest when he won 99.71% of delegates’ votes in 1948, according to Der Spiegel.
Schulz has been catapulted up the polls with the help of young supporters who have managed the impossible by creating populist-style momentum -dubbed the “Schulz train” – behind a moderate pro-EU politician .
And they’ve done it by turning one of the populists’ most trusted weapons against them – the power of internet memes. Here’s how Schulz’s nomination was greeted on his fans’ Facebook page.
While Angela Merkel was in the US trying to deal with Trump’s populism this weekend, she’ll arrive home to find her closest rival is just plain popular.
As the official slogan of Schulz’s unofficial supporters’ club goes, let’s “Make Europe Great Again”.