German SPD Leader Turns Down Foreign Minister Post in New Cabinet

German SPD Leader Turns Down Foreign Minister Post in New Cabinet

After agreeing a deal on Wednesday the decision now goes to the party's - over 400, 000 - members who will vote in a ballot on whether they back the union.

News that Germany's two biggest parties could soon be headed by women was a welcome kick-off to Germany's carnival season on Thursday, when women storm Rhineland town halls to snip off men's ties and - symbolically - seize power.

But a copy of the coalition agreement obtained by Agence France-Presse indicated that he was able to extract a high price from the conservatives in the final round of talks including control of the powerful finance and foreign ministries, as well as the labor, family affairs, justice and environment portfolios.

At the foreign ministry Schulz will direct Germany's European Union policy with the support of Olaf Scholz, a party colleague, at the finance ministry. And there's been all sorts of last-minute drama, with the SPD's Martin Schulz forced into personal climbdown after climbdown to appease his own party.

Wednesday's report, which cited unnamed participants, said that Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, its Bavaria-only sister party, the Christian Social Union, and the center-left Social Democrats, achieved a breakthrough on the division of ministries.

SPD members will vote on the final coalition deal between February 20 and March 2.

As SPD leader, Nahles would stay outside of government.




But it is unclear whether the party membership will be as open to supporting Merkel.

But there was anger within the SPD ranks too.

Separated and the mother of a young daughter, Nahles is the first woman to head up the SPD in its 154-year history.

Another reason for considering her position: the SPD leadership has proven a poisoned chalice for her six predecessors.

CNN says the agreement "represents a U-turn by the SPD, which had originally said it would rather rebuild itself in opposition than prop up another Merkel administration, after suffering its worst election result since World War II".

His announcement also upset Germany's current foreign minister - veteran SPD member Sigmar Gabriel - who complained of a "lack of respect" and said he was popular among ordinary Germans. A furious Gabriel has accused the party he led for eight years of shafting him.

Schulz was Merkel's defeated challenger in September. Gabriel said Germans appear to think he has been successful "and it's clear I regret that the new Social Democrat leadership didn't care about this public appreciation of my work". "If the SPD can not come out successfully from this nearly ideal constellation, then they are lost".

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