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Schulz drops bid for foreign minister job, quits as SDP leader

Schulz drops bid for foreign minister job, quits as SDP leader

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.

Senior CSU members said the party's leadership approved the agreement unanimously on Thursday. The results from that are due in early March, and that vote is now looking too close to call either way.

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 past year, had broken his promise never to enter a Merkel government.

SPD leader Martin Schulz drew strong criticism in the party after he announced on Wednesday that he would resign as SPD chairman to become foreign minister, after promising before the election that he would not serve in a Merkel-led government.

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

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.




"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 "deserves the highest respect and recognition", said Andrea Nahles, his likely successor as party chair. The paper cited Friedrich Merz, a former CDU rival whom Merkel sidelined after becoming party chairwoman in 2000, as saying the coalition deal was a "humiliation" for the Christian Democrats. He told broadcaster SWR that he expected a minority government to take charge in Germany, at least for a few months, if SPD members heeded his call.

For the SPD, the backbiting went public when Gabriel, Germany's acting foreign minister, attacked the leadership for planning to remove him from his post - and implying that he'd been promised that he could continue as the country's top diplomat.

Peter Hauk, agriculture minister in the wealthy southwestern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, said Merkel should enable a handover of power within the current four-year legislative period.

The decision by Mr Schulz was made as he came under intense pressure from his Social Democratic Party (SPD) to give up the role.


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