Europe

New Merkel challenger confident of party's chances

  • The designated chairman of the German Social Democratic Party, SPD, Martin Schulz, center, poses with faction members prior to a meeting of the faction of the German Social Democrats at the Reichstag building, host of the German federal parliament, Bundestag, in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

    The designated chairman of the German Social Democratic Party, SPD, Martin Schulz, center, poses with faction members prior to a meeting of the faction of the German Social Democrats at the Reichstag building, host of the German federal parliament, Bundestag, in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)  (The Associated Press)

  • Sigmar Gabriel, current chairman of the German Social Democratic Party, SPD, right, and SPD politician and designated party's chairman Martin Schulz, left, laugh as they arrive for a faction meeting of the German Social Democrats at the Reichstag building, host of the German federal parliament, Bundestag, in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

    Sigmar Gabriel, current chairman of the German Social Democratic Party, SPD, right, and SPD politician and designated party's chairman Martin Schulz, left, laugh as they arrive for a faction meeting of the German Social Democrats at the Reichstag building, host of the German federal parliament, Bundestag, in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)  (The Associated Press)

  • The designated chairman of the German Social Democratic Party, SPD, Martin Schulz, smiles as he arrives for a faction meeting of the German Social Democrats at the Reichstag building, host of the German federal parliament, Bundestag, in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

    The designated chairman of the German Social Democratic Party, SPD, Martin Schulz, smiles as he arrives for a faction meeting of the German Social Democrats at the Reichstag building, host of the German federal parliament, Bundestag, in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)  (The Associated Press)

Former European Parliament president Martin Schulz, who's been tapped to be the German Social Democrats' candidate for chancellor in fall elections, says he is confident he will be able to turn his party's fortunes around.

The 61-year-old, who is also expected to take over as the party's head on the weekend, said Wednesday that "if we show the people that we think of them, we'll win this election."

The Social Democrats are currently Chancellor Angela Merkel's junior coalition partner in government. In recent surveys, they polled around 21 percent, while Merkel's conservative block was atop with about 36 percent.

The vote is expected to see the nationalist Alternative for Germany, or AfD, enter the national parliament on a wave of anti-migrant sentiment. They're currently polling about 12 percent.