German SPD leader Schulz confirms will not take ministerial job

German SPD leader Schulz confirms will not take ministerial job

Troy Powers
February 10, 2018

Deutche Welle reports: "Early reports suggested that the SPD would be handed the Finance Ministry - a major gain for the Social Democrats - while CSU leader Horst Seehofer, one of the most conservative figures on Merkel's side, would become Interior Minister".

Schulz said, growing debate surrounding his bid for Foreign Ministry portfolio, could jeopardize the upcoming vote of SPD members on the coalition agreement.

Her appointment comes 18 years after the SPD's regular political rivals, the conservative Christian Democrats, elected its first female leader: Angela Merkel.

Gabriel is still in office in a caretaker capacity while the proposed coalition deal is put to a referendum of SPD members.

News agency dpa is reporting that Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and Germany's main center-left party have reached a deal on a new coalition government.

"I hereby declare my renunciation of joining the federal government and at the same time sincerely hope that this will end the personnel debates within the SPD", he said.

Schulz will also step down as party leader, and his likely successor, Andrea Nahles, said the party would now focus on policy content ahead of the ballot.

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Her next step up the party ladder came in September a year ago when she was appointed SPD parliamentary leader, just weeks after the party's election result sunk to a mere 20.5% - its lowest level since modern Germany was founded.

Gabriel said Germans appear to think he has been successful "and it's clear I regret that the new Social Democrat leadership didn't care about this public appreciation of my work".

Chancellor Angela Merkel receives Valentine's Day flowers from the Central Gardening Association at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, February 9, 2018.

The deal will now be submitted to a ballot of the Social Democrats' membership, a process that will take a few weeks. Paul Ziemiak, leader of the bloc's youth wing, called for a broad discussion about the longer-term future of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its leadership.

Peter Hauk, agriculture minister in the wealthy southwestern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, said Merkel should enable a handover of power within the current four-year legislative period.

With the coalition deal subject to a yes-or-no referendum by all 460,000 of the SPD rank and file, the sound of activists' teeth grinding at Mr Schulz's apparent move to secure himself a cosy job had by Friday become impossible to ignore.

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