Scholz leads SPD revival and puts party at the centre of coalition talks

Early projections suggest Mr Scholz has led Social Democrat party back to the top

 Social Democrats  candidate for chancellor Olaf Scholz: ‘The bar for the SPD is rising, the bar for the CDU is down, well down.’ Photograph: Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty

Social Democrats candidate for chancellor Olaf Scholz: ‘The bar for the SPD is rising, the bar for the CDU is down, well down.’ Photograph: Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty

To thunderous applause and throaty cheers, Olaf Scholz appeared before supporters on Sunday evening wearing what a frustrated rival recently dubbed his “Smurf-like grin”.

Looking haggard, the man who hopes to be Germany’s next – Social Democrat (SPD) – chancellor basked in his moment with a thin and crooked smile, framed by flushed red cheeks and exhausted eyes. After nearly 20 years of electoral disaster, early projections suggested Mr Scholz had led the party back to the top on election night.

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