German finance minister offers to join party leadership race

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s finance minister is offering to throw his hat in the ring to lead the center-left Social Democratic Party, a traditional powerhouse in German politics that’s seen a sharp drop in support in recent years.

The weekly Der Spiegel reported Friday that Olaf Scholz told party colleagues this week he’s willing to run if they want him to. Scholz would be the highest-profile candidate to join the leadership race for the party that’s a junior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing coalition.

The Social Democrats have suffered several disappointing election results lately and some in the party want to quit the coalition with Merkel’s conservatives.

Its future course will depend strongly on who wins the leadership contest, which is expected to be decided later this year after a series of membership meetings.

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