German foreign minister slams likely successor for betrayal

Martin Schulz, the leader of Germany's Social Democratic party, has announced that he will not take up a ministerial post in the next coalition government, despite gaining key roles for his party from Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union.

The Social Democrats are widely viewed to have secured a good deal in the coalition negotiations - capturing the powerful finance ministry, along with the foreign and labor ministries and three others that it already held.

A deal to govern with Chancellor Merkel's conservatives still has to be endorsed by SPD members.

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.

Many Social Democrats have blamed their poor showing on the party's membership in the previous "grand coalition".

"Therefore, I hereby declare that I am withdrawing my bid to enter the federal government, and sincerely hope that this would end the candidacy debate within the SPD", Schulz said in a written statement. Elected as leader of his party with 100% of the vote in January 2017, early polls suggested he could unseat the chancellor in the election in September.

Germany's Coalition Is Italy's Salvation
Martin Schulz: I won't be German foreign minister

A Forsa poll showed nearly three-quarters of Germans thought it would be wrong for Schulz to become foreign minister, while only around a quarter thought that would be the right move.

Mr Joffe added the election last year was a "popular vote of no-confidence" after losing supporters to the Alternative for Germany (AfD) following years of political turmoil after Europe's migration crisis in 2015, insisting it is now a "cosmic joke" the two parties are joining forces. He also said Andrea Nahles, the party's parliamentary leader, would take over as the Social Democrats' chairwoman.

His decision is a setback for Chancellor Angela Merkel's plans for a fourth government shortly before before it is due to have been sworn in.

Kevin K├╝hnert, leader of the SPD's youth wing, is travelling around the country urging members to say "no".

"We shouldn't only talk about how we want to shape the next four years in Germany but also what the CDU will stand for in future, which topics we can win elections with in the next 10 years and people go along with topics", he said.

Merkel, who long seemed impervious to criticism from within her own ranks, has faced a barrage of complaints since Wednesday's agreement, which left her bloc with six ministers - the same number as the SPD, which won fewer votes in the election.


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