German foreign minister lashes out at likely successor

Aaron Brown
February 11, 2018

Prospective German Foreign Minister Martin Schulz has announced that he will not take up a ministerial post in the next coalition government.

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

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.

This tougher stance was already on display in the rhetoric voiced during the recent visit to Israel by Germany's current foreign minister, Sigmar Gabriel, also an SPD politician.

Senior CSU members said the party's leadership approved the agreement unanimously on Thursday.

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"Therefore, I hereby declare that I am withdrawing my bid to enter the federal government, and sincerely hope that this would end the candidacy debate within the SPD", Schulz said in a written statement.

The Social Democrats are putting the coalition deal agreed on Wednesday to a ballot of all their members. The deal comes at a significant cost to Merkel, who has had to relinquish control of three ministries of state and agree to a number of coalition demands.

A rebellion is also growing in the ranks of Merkel's conservative CDU, with former allies arguing that she had ceded too much power to the left-leaning SPD in order to rule for a further four years as the head of a coalition government.

Last September, the Social Democrats suffered their worst election result in decades, but remained the second-largest party in parliament.

The two men are former friends and Mr Gabriel has alleged they made a deal in 2016 under which he would get to stay on as foreign minister in return for stepping aside as party leader to make way for Mr Schulz.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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