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

Germany's Schulz abandons plan to become foreign minister

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. Should the vote fail, Germany could be headed to an unprecedented new election.

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.

"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.

Disgruntlement among the SPD's base seemed to have spread to Merkel's CDU, where delegates were openly airing their frustration about the coalition deal.

Martin Schulz, leader of the German Social Democrats (SPD), said Friday he won't be the next foreign minister. 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. He reversed course, however, after Merkel's coalition talks with two smaller parties collapsed in November.

Talking to reporters after marathon overnight talks that produced the final agreement Wednesday, Merkel said that the agreement will help keep Germany's economy strong and guide the country into the future.

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The rejection of Mr Schulz, 62, completes his fall from grace. 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.

"The only thing left, really, is remorse over how disrespectful we've become with one another in our dealings and how little someone's word still counts", Gabriel said.

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. Gabriel himself surrendered the party chairmanship to Schulz in January 2017.

The Social Democrats came out the big victor, Soraya says.

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.

Chancellor Angela Merkel receives Valentine's Day flowers from the Central Gardening Association at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, February 9, 2018.

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