Smallest partner approves deal on new German government

German coalition deal reached

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and the Social Democrats sealed a deal on a new coalition on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila), potentially ending four months of political deadlock in Europe's top economy.

Germany's Social Democrats (SPD) chairman Martin Schulz announced on Friday that he would not pursue ministerial post in the next German government, including the foreign minister.

The SPD has managed to secure the finance, foreign and labour ministries as part of the deal, "a significant feat for the leader, Martin Schulz", who is set to land the job of foreign minister, says The Guardian.

Senior figures of Social Democratic Party (SPD), including the current Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, have publicly criticized Schulz and accused him of not keeping his promises.

They have lasted just three years on average; Schulz was elected with unanimous support last March but stands down after the SPD's worst federal election result since 1949.

The disarray within the party risks upending a ballot by the SPD's more than 460,000 members on whether to approve the coalition agreement, which would open the way for Merkel to be sworn in as chancellor more than four months after the election.

A Forsa poll showed nearly three-quarters of Germans thought it would be wrong for Schulz to become foreign minister, while only around a quarter thought that would be the right move.

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Many young and leftist members are against the renewed so-called Grand Coalition between the SPD and the Union.

From next week, Nahles tours Germany to win over SPD members to a coalition agreement she insists carries a "big, fat social democratic signature".

Schulz has also left his position as SPD chief, announcing he would hand over his role as party leader to Andrea Nahles.

Schulz was Merkel's defeated challenger in September.

Mr Joffe added the election last year was a "popular vote of no-confidence" after losing supporters to the Alternative for Germany (AfD) following years of political turmoil after Europe's migration crisis in 2015, insisting it is now a "cosmic joke" the two parties are joining forces. 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".

Second, members realise a rejection of the proposed coalition would leave the party without an easy "exit option" - new elections would likely see the SPD score even worse than the record low 20.5% it secured previous year, polls putting it around the 17% mark.

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