Ahead of the upcoming German presidential election in 2017, Mrs. Merkel has been unable to nominate her own candidate as successor for the role of German president and has instead been forced to accept the nomination of her Social Democrat coalition partners, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Mr. Steinmeier is currently the foreign minister in Mrs Merkel’s coalition government and this position is now expected to be taken by Martin Schulz, the prominent Social Democrat who is the current head of the European Parliament. Mr Schulz’s departure from Brussels is likely to trigger a succession battle in the European Parliament, having refused previously to hand over control of the chamber to the centre-right EPP group. Jean-Claude Juncker (President of the Commission) and Donald Tusk ( Chair of the European Council) are two conservative politicians who hold the two other senior positions in the European Parliament. A victory for the centre-right in taking the vacant head of the European Parliament would leave all three senior positions in the hands of the centre-right, at a time when the European Union wants to be seen as being as inclusive as possible.
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