SPD leadership transition drags out, threatens Germany's new coalition government

Julia Klockner

The SPD has slid into disarray since its leaders struck the coalition deal, blighted by bitter divisions over whether to join the coalition, a loss of confidence in outgoing leader Martin Schulz, and discontent over the succession process.

But it needs approval from the party's 460,000 members and faces some stiff resistance.

Under his reign as leader of the SPD, Schulz has seen the party support decrease dramatically with a recent poll, taken by the firm INSA, putting the social democrats only a single percentage point above the populist anti-mass migration Alternative for Germany (AfD).

The planned handover of the SPD leadership from Martin Schulz to Andrea Nahles is also viewed with skepticism, according to a survey by Emnid for Sunday's edition of the Bild newspaper.

The development followed Schulz's announcement Friday that he was abandoning plans to become foreign minister in the new government.

Many within the SPD harbour misgivings about sharing power with Mrs Merkel, believing the party should rebuild in opposition after suffering its worst result in last September's election since Germany became a federal republic in 1949.

Regional SPD branches in Berlin, Schleswig-Holstein and Saxony-Anhalt all proposed that the party should instead be led by its parliamentary vice-presidents in the interim until Nahles is confirmed as leader at a party conference. Protocol would have dictated that a deputy leader step in as interim chairman.

Schulz said last week he would quit to allow the party to regroup and he recommended Nahles as leader. If SPD members say no, a grand coalition will be dead.

He used the opportunity to lobby for members to sign off on the agreement, saying it was "70 percent" Social Democratic policy and could be used as a springboard to push more of its issues.

The coalition deal envisages stronger Franco-German cooperation, allocating budget funds for economic stabilisation in Europe, increased German contributions to the EU budget, and transforming the ESM bailout fund into a European Monetary Fund. The party's 464,000 party members will vote in a postal ballot on the deal, with the results expected to be announced on March 2. That would leave only an unprecedented minority government under Merkel or a new election as options.

His resignation capped a week that started with him tipped to become foreign minister of a new administration but ended with a likely return to the backbenches.

Schulz said an extraordinary party congress would be held in the western city of Wiesbaden on April 22 to pick a new leader. They said they would now focus on pushing for passage of the coalition agreement.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Jerusalem was highlight of my year, says Donald Trump
Feb 15, 2018 - 07:38
Just because you're right, Bibi, don't mean the Trump administration won't be using "alternative facts" on you. Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967 and proceeded to effectively annex it, in breach of global law.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Facebook still uncool among teens, report says
Feb 15, 2018 - 07:33
Snapchat, owned by Snap ( SNAP ), may now be siphoning away more users than expected. "That's the predicament Facebook is in". Children under ten are already on social media . "But not all of those users are migrating to Instagram ".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Free Flu Shot Clinics Offered In Effort To Fight Outbreak
Feb 15, 2018 - 07:22
The team said some have suggested the possibility of slower development of age-related immune response to influenza B. On Monday, officials with Vanderbilt University Medical Center released its flu numbers for the last six weeks.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Ahed Tamimi tried behind closed doors
Feb 15, 2018 - 07:18
Twenty-three Palestinians have been killed since Trump's declaration on December 6 , a lot of them in clashes with Israeli forces. Tamimi comes from a family well-known in the West Bank for inciting and provoking IDF soldiers while recording their reactions.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Williamson, Guptill fire Kiwis in T20
Feb 15, 2018 - 07:06
New Zealand found the breakthrough, though, and Colin de Grandhomme caught dangerman Hales for 47 from Ish Sodhi's short delivery. Rashid struck again on his next ball as Colin de Grandhomme was brilliantly caught by Chris Jordan at long-off.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Credit Suisse Loss Narrows In Fourth Quarter
Feb 15, 2018 - 06:59
The bank's private banking arm took in 37.2 billion francs in fresh money from clients - a key indicator of future revenue. Yet many of Credit Suisse's markets businesses went on to struggle throughout 2017 as volatility declined.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Manhattan Bomber Sentenced to Life in Prison for 2016 Blast Injuring 30
Feb 14, 2018 - 19:18
In court, Rahimi echoed his father's remarks, seeming to blame the Federal Bureau of Investigation for not stopping him sooner. Rahimi was arrested two days after the attacks following a shootout with police which left him in hospital for weeks.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top NASA probe "New Horizons" snaps farthest-ever photo from Earth
Feb 14, 2018 - 19:15
This December 2017 false-color image made available by NASA in February 2018 shows KBO ( Kuiper Belt object ) 2012 HZ84 . Until now, the photo was taken farther away from Earth than any image ever, a record that stood for more than 27 years.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Michelle Obama's presidential portrait dress has a political backstory
Feb 14, 2018 - 19:05
Sherald says the gown, which was designed by Milly , "has a connection to the art canon, but it also speaks to black culture". Powell, a professor of art and art history at Duke University and an expert in the history of black portraiture.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Google brings Snapchat Stories to the web through its AMP scheme
Feb 14, 2018 - 19:02
Indeed, the first thing publishers will likely notice, though, is that there's no tooling yet for building AMP stories . Considering the users Google's search engine sustains, it's possible AMP Stories might just take off.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Meghan Markle reveals hen's night plans on first royal visit to Scotland
Feb 14, 2018 - 19:00
But while founder Josh Littlejohn had courted the Hollywood royalty, the request from actual royalty came as a surprise. REUTERS/Mike SegarSinger Elton John performs at the Hillary Victory Fund "I'm With Her" benefit concert for U.S.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Syria threatens 'more surprises' following downing of Israeli warplane
Feb 14, 2018 - 18:57
Israel , in war with Hezbollah for more than 30 years, considers Iranian military presence in Syria a casus belli. It said the station was hit while drones were on regular missions in the country's desert in Homs province.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trump signs budget deal, bringing end to second shutdown of 2018
Feb 12, 2018 - 01:30
U.S. politicians have passed a bipartisan budget agreement, ending the second government shutdown in as many months. The bill also offers $90 billion in hurricane relief for Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top EPL: Ndidi's Leicester faces City test
Feb 12, 2018 - 01:26
And Puel claimed both he and the Algeria worldwide will focus their efforts on the rest of the season without any issues. Argentina star striker Sergio Aguero scored four goals while Raheem Sterling got City's opener.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top UFC 221 results: Full winners, analysis and reaction from Romero vs. Rockhold
Feb 12, 2018 - 01:18
He was recovering from a pulled hamstring, when he suffered a staph infection in his stomach and a bout with chickenpox. Mark Hunt and his team, are among a regular group of world-class athletes who spend time there during fight camps.