Wednesday, 18 September, 2019

Angela Merkel insists 'painful' coalition talks have not undermined her authority

Bavarian state Premier Horst Seehofer and Munich mayor Dieter Reiter REUTERS  Michaela Rehle Angela Merkel insists 'painful' coalition talks have not undermined her authority
Patty Aguilar | 12 February, 2018, 03:17

Tensions are also reported between him and Sigmar Gabriel, an SPD colleague who is now foreign minister. Schulz's retreat is also far from certain to ensure approval in the upcoming postal ballot of some 460,000 Social Democrats, and will do nothing to quiet grumbling among Merkel's troops over the coalition deal. If the party can use this to show that they can make a difference as Merkel's junior partner then they might be rewarded at the next election, but if not then this could be the start of the end of the SPD.

There was no immediate word on who might become foreign minister instead of Schulz, who also didn't detail any plans for his own future.

The names of the CDU politicians who will fill the empty ministry posts will be announced by February 26, when party delegates meet to decide on the coalition deal. Schulz's choice to step aside to help secure an SPD vote in favour of a stable government 'deserves the highest respect and recognition, said Andrea Nahles, his likely successor as party chair.

"I want to say that the we have also approved the policies and the finance minister can not simply do as he likes", she said. "We agreed on a balanced budget, and European policy will be formulated jointly".

Kuehnert, 28, is travelling around Germany urging members to vote against the deal.

Schulz said, growing debate surrounding his bid for Foreign Ministry portfolio, could jeopardize the upcoming vote of SPD members on the coalition agreement.

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Discontent also simmered in parts of the conservative bloc on Friday.

The SPD's traditional left-wing youth organization, Jusos, have opposed a coalition government with the Christian Democrats, and called for reform within the party.

"We shouldn't only talk about how we want to shape the next four years in Germany but also what the CDU will stand for in future, which topics we can win elections with in the next 10 years and people go along with topics", he said.

With many in the CDU unhappy about the loss of the key Finance Ministry, previously headed by European Union austerity advocate Wolfgang Schäuble, Merkel said the criticism was not a sign that her authority in the party was declining.

Merkel, 63, who long seemed immune to criticism from within her own ranks, came under fire this week after agreeing to have just six ministers in the cabinet - the same number as the SPD, which won fewer votes in the election.

Peter Hauk, agriculture minister in the wealthy southwestern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, said Merkel should enable a handover of power within the current four-year legislative period.

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