SPD leadership transition drags out, threatens Germany's new coalition government

14 February, 2018, 18:59 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Angela Merkekl

He also said Andrea Nahles, the party's parliamentary leader, would take over as the SPD's chairwoman.

Hoping to contain the bitter infighting inside the party, the SPD has nominated Nahles to replace Schulz, pending approval on April 22 at a special party conference in the western city of Wiesbaden.

Handing over the leadership of the SPD may not be as simple as many in the party would like as resistance to Nahles is growing.

The party has been forced to act swiftly to fill the vacancy left by Schulz as it prepares for a make-or-break vote by the more than 460,000 members on whether to accept or reject the coalition deal with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative bloc.

Most analysts believe that the SPD's 463,000 members will endorse the coalition deal, given that pensioners, working class families and other core SPD constituencies stand to benefit from it.

"I depart this office without bitterness or resentment", he said, nearly a year after he was elected as SPD party head with 100 percent of the vote. SPD sources said Hamburg Mayor Olaf Scholz will be interim leader.

Martin Schulz bows out as SPD leader, leaving his party in a mess.

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Just 33 percent of German citizens said the SPD would be more successful under Nahles, while 52 percent did not expect this to be the case. He also refused to become the next foreign minister.

Schulz, 62, ditched plans to take the post of foreign minister after fierce criticism from some former allies, not least because he had pledged not to serve in a cabinet with Merkel.

Nahles said that she would start campaigning at the weekend for members to approve the coalition agreement with Merkel. A vote against could sweep away the current generation of leaders and trigger new elections, unsettling partners in Europe and beyond.

In a cartoon published on Tuesday, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily showed Nahles with a whip riding an SPD snail.

Germany has been without a formal government since the September 24 election and investors are anxious about a delay in policymaking, both at home and in the EU.

Among supporters of Merkel's Christian Democrats and their Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU) - with whom the SPD are poised to form a with coalition government - 71.6 percent were critical of the SPD's ability to govern. The SPD was at a record low of 16.5 percent, barely ahead of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).

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