Schulz Says He Won't Enter German Coalition Government

Schulz Says He Won't Enter German Coalition Government

Schulz Says He Won't Enter German Coalition Government

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. Schulz had said shortly after the election last September that he wouldn't join another grand coalition, insisting the party would instead now "renew itself" in opposition.

Under the coalition agreement, the SPD will retain control of the foreign, justice and labour ministries among others. The results from that are due in early March, and that vote is now looking too close to call either way.

He added that his personal ambitions "must be placed behind the interests of the party".

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

As SPD leader, Nahles would stay outside of government. There was much internal criticism of the results of the interim talks (for instance, over a suggested upper limit on how many refugees Germany would accept - a proposal so problematic that Merkel refused to put it in her own party programme), in part leading to the near-miss at January's Bonn conference.

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

He was also facing anger over his treatment of Sigmar Gabriel, the current foreign minister and Germany's most popular politician, who had looked set to be forced out of government by Mr Schulz's decision to take the job.

"A lot of the SPD members, especially the younger ones that I know feel like they're being betrayed. yes the SPD will get another four years in government but it may actually not be a majority party in another 8-12 years" time, or even at the next election' said Christoph Nguyen, political science researcher at Berlin's Free University. A furious Gabriel has accused the party he led for eight years of shafting him.

On Wednesday, Merkel's Christian Democratic Union and its partner, the Christian Social Union, reached an agreement with the Social Democratic Party, the second largest force in the parliament.

"This is the VW Passat of coalition agreements", said Jan Techau, Europe programme director of the German Marshall Fund think tank.

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