Martin Schulz exits coalition in bid to stave off revolt

Martin Schulz exits coalition in bid to stave off revolt

Martin Schulz exits coalition in bid to stave off revolt

Germany's Social Democrat leader Martin Schulz has officially relinquished his bid to become foreign minister, and announced that he would not hold a cabinet post in the new coalition government.

The youth wing of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) on Friday demanded the bloc renew itself and build up a successor, warning it does not have much time after securing a much-criticized coalition deal.

The move by Schmidt, a conservative, effectively allowed the extension in glyphosate use within the European Union, despite opposition from France and from the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) in Germany's current government coalition.

Sigmar Gabriel, a popular foreign minister in the previous government and until recently seen as a close friend of Schulz, bitterly attacked his party leader in an interview on Thursday, hinting at broken promises.

'My own personal ambitions must be placed behind the interests of the party'.

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 SPD suffered its worst post-war electoral result, garnering just 20.5 percent of the vote, at the federal elections.

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Schmidt explained: "We felt he went really well against Montpellier and we are looking forward to seeing what he will deliver". Brunel is not hiding from the challenge ahead and admits that few people will expect a home victory on Saturday.

Schulz's announcement on Wednesday that he would resign as SPD chairman to become foreign minister prompted strong criticism in the party as he had promised before the September election that he would not serve in a Merkel-led government.

A Forsa poll had indicated that nearly three-quarters of Germans thought it would be wrong for Schulz to become foreign minister. This had prompted unrest within Merkel's conservative ranks.

On Friday morning, it emerged that Schulz was facing a rebellion within his party, with the tabloid Bild reporting that delegates from the SPD's powerful branch in North-Rhine Westphalia had set him an ultimatum to renounce his aspirations for the foreign ministry. He reversed course, however, after Merkel's coalition talks with two smaller parties collapsed in November.

A breakthrough was finally announced on Wednesday, with major concessions given to the SPD.

Schulz's decision came after Gabriel complained to the Funke newspaper group about "disrespectful" behavior in the party.

Schulz was Merkel's defeated challenger in September.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and Germany's main center-left party are still haggling over a deal to form a new coalition government after negotiations that lasted through the night.

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