German political dynamics have made an early and perhaps unexpected change this summer, coming out of the “Sommerloch,” with two new announcements from the Social Democratic Party. First, the SPD indicated that it would look for and be willing to participate in a left-wing coalition after the 2021 election (with the Greens and the Left Party)—a change from its many years in a Grand Coalition. And second, the party selected its chancellor candidate for the 2021 election: Olaf Scholz, currently the Vice Chancellor and Federal Minister for Finance. Among the most centrist in SPD leadership, Scholz sought but failed to win the party chairmanship last year. Interestingly, at the same time as the SPD is shifting to the left in terms of its desired coalition, it has also picked an ultra-centrist politician as its candidate.
For the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies, Atlantic Council Resident Fellow Julian Mueller-Kaler joins AICGS’ Jeff Rathke and Eric Langenbacher for another episode of the Zeitgeist, a podcast focused on Germany, the United States, and the transatlantic relationship.