Merkel and #SPD under renewed fire over German coalition deal

Merkel and #SPD under renewed fire over German coalition deal

Merkel and #SPD under renewed fire over German coalition deal

Germany's Social Democrats (SPD) must seize the opportunity to reform the European Union in a new governing alliance with Chancellor Angela Merkel, the party's interim leader said on Wednesday in appealing to members to back their coalition deal. Martin Schulz stepped down saying he wanted to end SPD "personnel debates".

"I will defend the idea of joining the big coalition, I will do all it takes to achieve this, "said Nahles, whose party, however, disagrees about joining a new large coalition of conservatives".

The SPD presidium has nominated the SPD parliamentary group leader and former Labor Minister Andrea Nahles as the new party leader, a decision pending approval, reports Xinhua. A "no" vote would likely lead to new elections, prolonging uncertainty in Europe's most populous country and economic powerhouse.

Schulz, a former European Parliament president, took over as SPD leader from Gabriel past year, raising hopes within the party he could stand a better chance against Merkel in the September election.

"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.

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

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Michael Mueller, head of the SPD in Berlin and mayor of the German capital, told the newspaper "Berliner Morgenpost" that he did not reject Nahles' candidacy for the leadership as such, but was in favor of a "clean process" as established by the party constitution.

The turmoil in the SPD can only distract from criticism of Merkel from within her own party after she handed the foreign and finance ministries to the SPD to secure the coalition deal.

Gabriel last week launched an extraordinary attack against the party's leadership, apparently angry because Schulz was planning to take up Gabriel's position as foreign minister.

An INSA poll published on Tuesday showed the SPD at a record low of 16.5 percent, only 1.5 percentage points ahead of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).

The chairman of the Association of Social Democratic Lawyers in the SPD, Harald Baumann-Hasske, also brought up the legality of appointing a new chair, per the party's charter.

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.

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