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Martin Schulz: I won't be German foreign minister
10 February 2018, 02:13 | Kenneth Drake
Heavy price for coalition
Social Democratic Party leader Martin Schulz is likely to succeed German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, following the announcement of a coalition deal by SPD with Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU/CSU bloc.
The job is now held by Sigmar Gabriel, who handed the party leadership to Mr Schulz a year ago and has become one of Germany's most popular politicians since taking on the role of foreign minister.
"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. He reversed course, however, after Merkel's coalition talks with two smaller parties collapsed in November.
September's general election was a disaster for the party, however.
Many in the SPD fear that re-entering a coalition with Mrs Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) and the Bavarian CSU could damage the party in the long term.
Many of Merkel's deals have infuriated her Christian Democrat party.
Schulz has also left his position as SPD chief, announcing he would hand over his role as party leader to Andrea Nahles.
A deal to govern with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives still has to be put to a vote of SPD members.
The SPD's 464,000 members still have the right to veto a "grand coalition" with Merkel's conservatives and the result of a postal ballot is due to be announced on March 4.
The move drew criticism from SPD members, who believed their party should reinvent itself in opposition.
The head of the Social Democrats' youth wing, who is campaigning against the new coalition, said party members should give up fighting about who does what job and concentrate on debating whether the party enters the government. But the final stretch appeared to be more about horse-trading on posts, with the SPD celebrating their advances within the cabinet.
Only days after looking like he would play an influential role in global politics over the next four years, Schulz's political career could come to an abrupt end.
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.
"What's left is regret at how little respect there is in the Social Democratic Party in our dealings with one another, and how little someone's word counts for", Gabriel told the Funke newspaper group.
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