Leadership row drags Germany's SPD into new crisis after coalition deal

Leadership row drags Germany's SPD into new crisis after coalition deal

Shortly after, the party's leadership announced that it supported the chairman of the SPD parliamentary group Andrea Nahles for the post.

Schulz said last week he would quit to allow the party to regroup and he recommended Nahles as leader.

Her candidacy will be voted on by party members on April 22.

Against the backdrop of the leadership drama, SPD members will begin voting next week on whether to join a new coalition under Merkel.

Results are due on March 4 and "no" vote would nearly certainly mean new elections and yet more uncertainty in Germany.

The SDP's former leader said the coalition agreement was "70 percent" Social Democratic policy and encouraged party members to bring "the personnel debate to an end" with his resignation and concentrate on passing the deal.

Schulz's decision to accept the post of foreign minister has also irked the incumbent, his party colleague Sigmar Gabriel, who called the move "disrespectful" on Thursday evening.

Meanwhile, according to a survey, around two-thirds of Germans do not consider the SPD fit for national government, less than two weeks before the party is set to vote on a new coalition deal with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives, as reported by the dpa.

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Germany's stumbling efforts to install a new coalition government under the leadership of Angela Merkel remains on track despite a grassroots rebellion that led to the downfall of one of the country's most prominent politicians, analysts said Wednesday.

That leaves open who from within the SPD may take up that post.

The manner in which Mr Schulz originally anointed Ms Nahles as his successor - without broad consultation - rankled with many in the party and resulted in Mr Scholz being appointed as interim leader.

Malu Dreyer, regional prime minister of Rhineland-Palatinate, said: "The SPD can not remain leaderless".

German's Social Democratic grass roots are in revolt and may veto a new government in their upcoming vote. Mr Schulz on Friday abandoned his plan to become Germany's next foreign minister after the SPD's youth wing accused him of securing a favourable position for himself.

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.

The SPD has agreed on a blueprint for coalition government with Ms Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) and her Bavarian CSU allies. The far-right populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) entered the Bundestag for the first time.

The departure is likely to soothe anger within the Social Democrats and make it more likely that the party's 460,000 rank-and-file members will vote to approve the coalition deal, analysts said.

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