Merkel faces Schulz of the SPD as her main rival in the Sept. 24 election. AFP / Odd ANDERSEN
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Martin Schulz's route to becoming Angela Merkel's challenger for German chancellor has been strewn with highs and lows.Schulz has made much both of his modest past and of his passion for European unity as he seeks to lead his center-left Social Democratic Party to victory after 12 years of Merkel. In 1994, Schulz won a seat in the European Parliament, where he gradually worked his way to prominence.From 2012 until the beginning of this year, Schulz was the EU parliament's president.Schulz was long considered a potential candidate for chancellor but it was still a surprise when the Social Democrats' then-leader, Sigmar Gabriel, stepped aside in January to let him run.
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