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German foreign minister slams likely successor for betrayal

11 February 2018

Christian Democratic Union (CDU) leader and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Christian Social Union (CSU) leader Horst Seehofer and Social Democratic Party (SPD) leader Martin Schulz pose after a statement on coalition talks to form a new coalition government in Berlin, Germany, February 7, 2018.

The rare public broadside at his comrades came after SPD and Merkel's conservative CDU/CSU bloc announced a hard-fought coalition deal on Wednesday that could see Schulz claim the Foreign Ministry. The results from that are due in early March, and that vote is now looking too close to call either way.

"Angela Merkel has succeeded, she will remain chancellor if the SPD members vote for the coalition deal".

Merkel's conservatives and the SPD agreed on Wednesday to form a coalition government but SPD members have the right to veto the deal.

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His announcement leaves the former European Parliament president empty-handed after a disastrous year that saw him lead the SPD to its worst-ever score since WW2 in September elections, with just 20.5 percent of the vote.

After the SPD's losses in the September 24 national election, Schulz announced that the SPD would go into coalition and that he wouldn't hold talks with Merkel.

Prospective German Foreign Minister Martin Schulz has announced that he will not take up a ministerial post in the next coalition government.

"I hereby declare my renunciation of joining the federal government and at the same time sincerely hope that this will end the personnel debates within the SPD", he said.

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Schulz, 62, will also step down as party chairman, and his likely, 47-year-old successor, Andrea Nahles, said the party would now focus on policy content ahead of the ballot.

The coalition agreement "certainly won't simply be waved through", CDU MP Sylvia Pantel told mass-market daily Bild. Paul Ziemiak, leader of the bloc's youth wing, called for a broad discussion about the longer-term future of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its leadership.

Schulz's retreat is also far from certain to ensure approval in the upcoming postal ballot of some 460,000 Social Democrats, and will do nothing to quiet grumbling among Merkel's troops over the coalition deal.

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German foreign minister slams likely successor for betrayal