SPD party members will decide Germany's fate

10 February, 2018, 11:05 | Author: Dave Hampton
  • German coalition deal reached

Fourth, initially in return for the role of Foreign Minister, SPD leader Martin Schulz (re-elected just last year) made a decision to stand aside in favour of the party's federal parliament floor leader, Andrea Nahles (whose impassioned speech was considered a decisive moment at the Bonn conference, in stark contrast to Schulz's underwhelming performance).

'My own personal ambitions must be placed behind the interests of the party'. They feel instead a time in opposition could revive the party who have been polling at an historic low.

The SPD, Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Christian Social Union reached the coalition deal on Wednesday, which will possibly end the new government vacuum since the September 24 federal election, the longest period ever since 1949.

If it's approved by Social Democratic members, she can keep governing from the political center with a partner she knows well.

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But in the end it appears it was the party leadership's fears that the row over Mr Schulz could lose them the vote on the coalition deal that finished him off. Michael Groschek, the head of the party's biggest regional association, is said to have been given the task of telling Mr Schulz he had to go. Then, the party could hardly stake a credible claim to field the next chancellor, and would also have ruled out joining a coalition government, leaving electors to puzzle over the point of voting SPD.

Both camps had to make major sacrifices to secure a deal. That result will be announced on March 4.

Under the coalition agreement, the SPD will retain control of the foreign, justice and labour ministries among others.

Nahles said in an interview with ZDF television this week she was confident the "very bold" left-wing character of the contract with Merkel would win members over.

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Seehofer is expected to give a report on the mammoth negotiations - which stretched beyond a Sunday deadline into Wednesday - to hammer out the deal to revive the so-called grand coalition that has governed Germany since 2013.

Indeed, should Nahles convince a majority of the SPD rank-and-file to back the coalition deal, it could help to set her on the road to becoming the party's chancellor-candidate at the next national election in 2021.

The foreign ministry is now held by Sigmar Gabriel, who handed the Social Democrats' leadership to Schulz a year ago and has become one of Germany's most popular politicians.

The SPD came under pressure to form a government with Merkel after a four month period of political instability.

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Merkel, too, appears near the end of her tenure, with no great clarity about her successor's identity (smart money is on Saarland state premier Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer).

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