Social Democrats' leader gives up on plan to become foreign minister

Feb 11, 2018, 03:54
Social Democrats' leader gives up on plan to become foreign minister

The leader of Germany's Social Democrats has given up his ambition to be foreign minister, days after agreeing to form a coalition with Angela Merkel.

The decision came after increasing pressure within the party over forging an alliance with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives.

Senior figures of Social Democratic Party (SPD), including the current Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, have publicly criticized Schulz and accused him of not keeping his promises.

"A lot of the SPD members, especially the younger ones that I know feel like they're being betrayed. yes the SPD will get another four years in government but it may actually not be a majority party in another 8-12 years" time, or even at the next election' said Christoph Nguyen, political science researcher at Berlin's Free University.

Schulz had announced on Wednesday he would resign as SPD chairman to become German foreign minister, triggering widespread criticism as he had promised ahead of the September election he would not serve in a Merkel-led government. Merkel has been fighting to remain in power since September's disastrous elections and the price she pays could be heavy, with her new government set to be much more active in pursuing greater European integration and reform and Schulz, the former European parliament president who has called for a United States of Europe, ensconced in Cabinet as foreign minister.

The Social Democrats are putting the coalition deal agreed on Wednesday to a ballot of all their members. But such a coalition deal was struck earlier this week.

Schulz's choice to step aside "deserves the highest respect and recognition", said Andrea Nahles, his likely successor as party chair.

The result of the SPD vote is expected to be announced on 4 March, with CDU delegates also getting a chance to vote on the coalition deal at a party congress on 24 February.

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