German parties near coalition deal

German coalition deal reached

Former European Parliament speaker and leader of the German Social Democrat party (SPD) Martin Schulz announced today he will abandon his plan to serve as German foreign minister, seeking to end a party row over his role and boost support among members for a new "grand coalition" with Angela Merkel's conservatives. The results will be announced on March 4, according to party officials.

His withdrawal was a response to an outcry in the Social Democrats' base, with many saying Schulz, who led the party to its worst election result since World War II previous year, had broken his promise never to enter a Merkel government.

Many grassroots members of the centre-left SPD are sceptical about another tie-up with the conservatives after serving in a similar coalition in 2013-17.

The perception among Social Democratic Party activists that party chief Schulz had fashioned himself a life raft from the wreckage of an election disaster threatened chances the rank and file would green-light a controversial coalition deal sealed just two days ago.

If a deal emerges, it won't bring an immediate end to the political limbo following Germany's September 24 election.

A Forsa poll had indicated that nearly three-quarters of Germans thought it would be wrong for Schulz to become foreign minister.




"At the same time, I sincerely hope that this will end the personnel debates within the SPD.my own personal ambitions must be placed behind the interests of the party", Schulz said.

Schulz's choice to step aside to help secure an SPD vote in favour of a stable government "deserves the highest respect and recognition", said Andrea Nahles, his likely successor as party chair.

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

It's been over four months since its latest elections, and Germany finally has a government again. He also wants to create the post of European Union finance minister.

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.

Any agreement will be submitted to a ballot of the Social Democrats' members, a process that will take a few weeks.

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