Germany coalition: SPD's Schulz gives up cabinet role to save deal

Heavy price for coalition

Heavy price for coalition

The deal Wednesday morning between the CDU and coalition partners, the Christian Social Union (CSU) and the Social Democrats (SPD) ensures that Merkel, who has already served for more than 12 years, will get another term in office.

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.

"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.

The smallest of the parties in Germany's prospective new government has signed off on this week's coalition deal, but bigger hurdles lie ahead.

He is not the only one feeling let down by the results of party leaders' days-long negotiating marathon earlier this week.

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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. 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.

The new coalition will put the far-right Alternative for Germany, the third-largest party in the German parliament, known as the Bundestag, in the opposition. 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.

German Chancellor and leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Angela Merkel arrives for the coalition negotiations at CDU headquarters on Tuesday.

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 coalition agreement between the Social Democrats and Merkel's CDU/CSU bloc is still subject to approval from the SPD's around 460,000 members.

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