Aug. 10 (UPI) -- German finance minister Olaf Scholz was nominated Monday by the Social Democratic Party to take over as chancellor if he's elected next year, succeeding Angela Merkel.
Scholz, 62, has been deputy chancellor in Merkel's coalition government, in which the Social Democrats (SPD) are a minority partner to Merkel's Christian Democratic Union. He has won praise since becoming finance minister in 2018, particularly since the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic.
"I'm pleased about the nomination and I want to win," Scholz said, adding that he will remain in Merkel's coalition for the near future. "The campaign doesn't start today, we still have something to achieve. The coronavirus pandemic is still with us."
Scholz, the former mayor of Hamburg, Germany's second-largest city, lost an election in 2019 to be leader of the Social Democrats.
Experts say Scholz will likely face strong opposition from Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, which has delayed choosing its own candidate until December due to the pandemic. The Green Party, the second-largest party in Merkel's coalition, will also nominate a candidate for chancellor.
Holger Schmieding, chief economist at Berenberg Bank, said Scholz's chances of becoming chancellor aren't good because of a lack of party support.
Merkel said in late 2018 she would not run for a fifth term as chancellor of Germany.
Germany's next federal election will be held between August and October next year.