Martin Schulz resigns as head of Germany's Social Democrats

Martin Schulz resigns as head of Germany's Social Democrats

Martin Schulz resigns as head of Germany's Social Democrats

German Chancellor Angela Merkel may have given the finance ministry to her Social Democrat (SPD) coalition partners but Berlin is not putting its finances at risk, a former lawmaker told CNBC Tuesday.

The failed chancellor candidate and former head of the European Parliament made the decision after days of personnel debates within the SPD.

"It's a hard job at times, but I retire without bitterness and resentment", Schulz was quoted by German media Focus Online as saying.

Hamburg Mayor Olaf Scholz has taken over as interim SPD chief, with the party's parliamentary group leader Andrea Nahles lined up as the leadership's candidate to become the new permanent boss. If party members reject the agreement, the new coalition government can't be formed.

"There is no constitutional basis for such a move in our statues", Baumann-Hasske noted, adding that it would hence be impossible for Nahles to make "significant decisions" including with regards to party finances.

Under his reign as leader of the SPD, Schulz has seen the party support decrease dramatically with a recent poll, taken by the firm INSA, putting the social democrats only a single percentage point above the populist anti-mass migration Alternative for Germany (AfD).

Andrea Nahles also said she would fight for the ruling coalition with the conservatives of Angela Merkel.

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Schulz's own plans were becoming a major distraction for the SPD.

Many within the SPD harbour misgivings about sharing power with Merkel, believing the party should rebuild in opposition after suffering its worst result in last September's election since Germany became a federal republic in 1949.

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

The SPD has slid into disarray since its leaders struck the coalition deal last week, blighted by bitter divisions over whether to join the coalition, a loss of confidence in outgoing leader Martin Schulz and discontent over the succession process.

The development followed Schulz's announcement Friday that he was abandoning plans to become foreign minister in the new government.

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.

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