Martin Schulz: I won't be German foreign minister

Marie Harrington
February 11, 2018

"For that reason, I declare that I won't enter into the federal government - and at the same time sincerely hope to put an end to the personnel debate within the SPD".

Christian von Stetten, a lawmaker from Ms. Merkel's own Christian Democrats (CDU), said the allocation of Cabinet posts, and the Finance Ministry in particular, had been "a political mistake".

However, the agreement is subject to the approval of the total SPD party members, over 460,000 in number, in the coming weeks.

The SPD agreed on Wednesday to form a new "grand coalition" with the conservatives, over four months after an election, but the 464,000-strong party rank and file could still scupper the deal in a ballot.

A deal to govern with Chancellor Merkel's conservatives still has to be endorsed by SPD members.

Under the coalition agreement, the SPD will retain control of the foreign, justice and labour ministries among others.

Schulz, 62, will also step down as party chairman, and his likely, 47-year-old successor, Andrea Nahles, said the party would now focus on policy content ahead of the ballot.

More news: Battery Health Settings Now Live

The result of the vote is expected to be announced on March 4.

Analysts predict there is little chance they will block it - although the gathering will show off just how much Merkel's star has faded among a base that has always been loyal to the hilt.

"The way in which Schulz left could make it hard to quickly focus on the party's achievements in the coalition talks", Carsten Nickel, a Brussels-based analyst at Teneo Intelligence, said in an e-mail response to questions.

The centre-left party is on course to run six ministries, including finance and foreign affairs.

For the German press, such open resistance to Merkel is a sign that the long-serving leader could be on the way out.

SPD party members still smarting over his decision to renew the loveless "grand coalition" despite initially pledging to take the SPD into opposition. "But her farewell to power has begun, and thereby the debate about her succession", news weekly Der Spiegel commented.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

Discuss This Article