German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has denied rumours that he will soon resign because the stress of the migrant crisis had impacted his health.
The Socialist Party (SPD) in Germany is seeing historic lows in polls and a new rumour is circulating that Chairman of the SPD Sigmar Gabriel may be preparing to give up entirely.
The rumour comes from Helmut Markwort, editor of German magazine Focus who has stated he has an unnamed source within the party who said Gabriel was looking at stepping down and handing the reigns of the party over to Olaf Scholz, the current mayor of Hamburg, The Local reports.
“Olaf Scholz, the mayor of Hamburg, will be the new chairman of the SPD, and there is talk that Martin Schulz of the European Parliament is to be the main candidate for the chancellery. So Schulz and Scholz instead of Gabriel,” Markwort said in an interview on Bavarian television.
The SPD were quick to deny the allegations of Gabriel’s departure, dismissing the claims as baseless. Heiko Maas, who is the Justice Minister in Germany and a member of the SPD said “it is such nonsense that one can’t even find the right way to deny it,” in an interview with ARD Sunday.
Deputy chief of the party Ralf Stegner accused the Bavarian based paper’s journalist of seeing things, remarking that the journalist, “has had a bit too much sun in Munich.”
The SPD are one of the few parties who still maintain a pro-mass migration policy in the wake of the ongoing revelations of the migrant crisis. In 2017 there will be a federal election in Germany and many in the SPD are worried about their chances to maintain their position within Angela Merkel’s so called “grand coalition.”
Polls currently show the socialists at 21 percent, second behind Chancellor Merkel’s centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) who poll at 34 percent according to data gathered by Stern magazine. This year in regional elections the Socialist vote absolutely collapsed while the anti-mass migration Alternative for Germany (AfD) grew enormously and became recognized as the third largest party in many areas.
The AfD even led the socialists in two out of the three states who voted. Gabriel is so worried about the AfD that he has recommended the German intelligence services should spy on them.
The rumours of Gabriel’s ill health appear to have some basis of truth, and it is said that he had cancelled a recent trip to Iran because of a bout of shingles. On top of the news of Gabriel’s health, Bild am Sontag reported that Gabriel was looking at postponing the announcement about who in the party would be running for the position of Chancellor next year from January of 2017 to May.