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10 February 2018, 02:58 | Vera Richards
Heavy price for coalition
Under the terms of the deal struck between Merkel and Schulz earlier this week, the SPD will keep the foreign ministry it held in the last government and also take over the finance ministry from the CDU.
Martin Schulz, the leader of Germany's centre-left Social Democrats, has said he is giving up on plans to become the country's foreign minister amid turbulence in his party after it clinched a coalition deal with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives.
GERMAN Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel lashed out today at his likely successor, Martin Schulz, saying his party colleague had broken a promise not to serve in Chancellor Angela Merkel's new cabinet. That marks a major shift since Merkel has not previously faced a credible challenge to her rule in the more than 12 years she has spent at the helm of Europe's pre-eminent powerbroker.
The coalition agreement between the Social Democrats and Merkel's CDU/CSU bloc is still subject to approval from the SPD's around 460,000 members.
Senior SPD members also pressured their leader into dropping his demand to be the foreign minister as part of the grand coalition - or GroKro.
"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".
September's election left her coalition, made up of the same three parties, severely weakened.
The shock announcement comes just days after Merkel's conservatives and the SPD agreed to form a coalition government.
A Forsa poll showed nearly three-quarters of Germans thought it would be wrong for Schulz to become foreign minister, while only around a quarter thought that would be the right move. A "no" vote would mean Germany would nearly certainly face.
Kuehnert, 28, is travelling around Germany urging members to vote against the deal. He told broadcaster SWR he expected a minority government to take charge in Germany, at least for a few months, if SPD members heeded his call.
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The move drew criticism from SPD members, who believed their party should reinvent itself in opposition.
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.
Some commentators have suggested a mid-term review could offer Merkel the opportunity to step gracefully aside.
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