German SPD leader invokes Europe to sell coalition deal with Merkel
14 February, 2018, 19:24 | Author: Diane Mills
An attempt to end bitter infighting among the German Social Democrats (SPD) with an immediate transfer of the leadership position from Martin Schulz to the current SPD parliamentary faction leader Andrea Nahles has met with resistance on Tuesday.
"If I can contribute to that by resigning, it will have been worth it", he said outside the SPD headquarters.
The results of the ballot on the coalition deal will be announced on March 4.
The party has been forced to act swiftly to fill the vacancy left by Schulz as it prepares for a make-or-break vote by the more than 460,000 members on whether to accept or reject the coalition deal with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative bloc.
Schulz, a former European Parliament president, took over as SPD leader from Gabriel a year ago, raising hopes within the party he could stand a better chance against Merkel in the September election.
Leader of the SPD group in Thurianga, Matthias Hey, said: "Our mood regarding what is happening in Berlin now is down in the cellar". The deal has potentially paved the way for Germany to finally form a government after months of political instability following the indecisive parliamentary elections in September.
German's Social Democratic grass roots are in revolt and may veto a new government in their upcoming vote.
Schulz said last week he would quit to allow the party to regroup and he recommended Nahles as leader.
Andrea Nahles also said she would fight for the ruling coalition with the conservatives of Angela Merkel.
The embattled leader of the SPD suddenly gave up plans to become the next foreign minister on Friday, hoping to shore up support among SPD members for a new coalition with Mrs. Merkel's Christian Democrats.
An INSA poll published on Tuesday showed the SPD at a record low of 16.5 percent, only 1.5 percentage points ahead of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD). Schulz's resignation, however, does not mean he will leave the party, and he can take a ministerial post if the government is actually formed.
Merkel annoyed members of her Christian Democrats (CDU) by agreeing in the coalition talks to cede the finance ministry to the SPD.
Guenther Oettinger, a senior CDU member and the European Union's budget commissioner, rushed to her defence on Monday: "I find her still strong ... and am sure she will meet the expectations of our party and the public in the coming days".
The director was Roland Van Hauwermeiren, who The Times alleges used prostitutes at a villa rented for him by Oxfam. Although the charity has denied covering up the alleged scandal, Christian Aid said the claims are "deplorable".
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 .
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