Why SPD election victory in Germany is no new dawn for Europe’s social democrats

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Germany’s social democrat SPD party came first in the country’s parliamentary elections on September 26th, garnering just more than a quarter of votes cast. It places the centre-left party in prime position to form a new coalition government, which would see Olaf Scholz, the party’s candidate for chancellor, succeed the outgoing Angela Merkel. But, writes Fabien Escalona in this analysis of the wider implications of the election, the knife-edge victory of the once moribund SPD is very much a relative one, and is far from auguring a resurgence of the social democrat movement in Europe, despite similarly fragile recent wins in Nordic countries.

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Following the results of the legislative elections held in Germany on September 26th, it is probable that the country’s new chancellor will be a social democrat. Yet just a few months ago such an outcome appeared highly unlikely.