Published: Sat, February 10, 2018
Money | By Hannah Jacobs

Martin Schulz exits coalition in bid to stave off revolt

Martin Schulz exits coalition in bid to stave off revolt

The pitch is created to appeal to his party's 464,000 members before they vote on the deal, which is the final hurdle the SPD needs to pass before the government can be formed. They feel instead a time in opposition could revive the party who have been polling at an historic low.

Now, the demoralized SPD is hoping that the 47-year-old Nahles can lead the centre-left party on a revival path after a series of election humiliations plunged it into an identity crisis.

If it's approved by Social Democratic members, she can keep governing from the political center with a partner she knows well.

The head of the Social Democrats' youth wing, who is campaigning against the new coalition, said party members should give up fighting about who does what job and concentrate on debating whether the party enters the government. Then, the party could hardly stake a credible claim to field the next chancellor, and would also have ruled out joining a coalition government, leaving electors to puzzle over the point of voting SPD. That result will be announced on March 4.

"Dissatisfaction is very strong among grassroots CDU members", he said.

The coalition deal must be approved by the Social Democrats' 463,000 rank-and-file members, many of whom bristle at the prospect of enabling yet another star turn for Merkel in Germany and overseas.

Schulz has turned down the post of the foreign minister under increasing pressure from his own party, because of his earlier pledge that he will not become part of the cabinet headed by Angela Merkel.

German newspaper headlines were full of the protests of outgoing Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, at his removal from government - he was furious at Schulz apparently "breaking his word" by taking on this key ministry himself rather than allowing Gabriel to stay in post.

Seehofer said on Wednesday he was pleased with the deal, especially as he had managed to secure a now expanded Interior Ministry, giving the CSU control over immigration, an area on which he has clashed with Merkel.

The perception among SPD activists that Schulz had constructed a life raft from the wreckage of an election disaster led many analysts to predict that the party's rank and file membership would not authorise the coalition deal sealed just two days ago.

So where does this leave Germany, and its relationship with the UK?

In a reminder of how indispensable Berlin has become to European affairs, the ill temper in Germany was not matched in other capitals, where news of a prospective end to four months of uncertainty was greeted with relief.

Merkel, too, appears near the end of her tenure, with no great clarity about her successor's identity (smart money is on Saarland state premier Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer).

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