END OF MERKEL: Socialists pulling chancellor 'into DOWNFALL' as party 'DETERIORATES'

11 February, 2018, 05:18 | Author: Diane Mills
  • Meet the Social Democrat poised to run Merkel's finance ministry

The SPD, Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Christian Social Union reached the coalition deal on Wednesday, which will possibly end the new government vacuum since the September 24 federal election, the longest period ever since 1949.

The leader of Germany's Social Democrats (SPD), Martin Schulz, has abandoned a plan to serve as foreign minister in a new coalition government.

The disarray within the party risks upending a ballot by the SPD's more than 460,000 members on whether to approve the coalition agreement, which would open the way for Merkel to be sworn in as chancellor more than four months after the election.

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

"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.

He had previously ruled out both repeating the "grand coalition" for a third time under Merkel, and serving as a minister in her cabinet.

More news: Syria conflict: United States in rare counter-strike after Deir al-Zour attack

Many Social Democrats don't want to revive the "grand" coalition of Germany's two biggest parties, which underpinned two of Merkel's three terms. A party meeting in January narrowly approved talks with Merkel's Christian Democratic-led bloc, laying bare the divisions.

The coalition agreement "certainly won't simply be waved through", CDU MP Sylvia Pantel told mass-market daily Bild.

Tensions are also reported between him and Sigmar Gabriel, an SPD colleague who is now foreign minister. He also wants to create the post of European Union finance minister.

"What's left is regret at how little respect there is in the Social Democratic Party in our dealings with one another, and how little someone's word counts for", Gabriel told the Funke newspaper group. Its results will be announced on March 4.

The SPD's traditional left-wing youth organization, Jusos, have opposed a coalition government with the Christian Democrats, and called for reform within the party.

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