German Social Democrats shake up leadership, focus on govt

German Social Democrats shake up leadership, focus on govt

German Social Democrats shake up leadership, focus on govt

Meanwhile, according to a survey, around two-thirds of Germans do not consider the SPD fit for national government, less than two weeks before the party is set to vote on a new coalition deal with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives, as reported by the dpa. Sigmar Gabriel, the serving foreign minister, attacked him in a newspaper interview for taking his job.

Martin Schulz stepped down with immediate effect on Tuesday and said the party's committee had backed parliamentary floor leader Andrea Nahles as his successor.

"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.

In his second resignation in several days, the now-former head of the SPD Schulz gave his support to parliamentary group leader Andrea Nahles in an upcoming leadership election that will take place on April 22nd.

The upheaval at the top of the SPD has distracted from party leaders' attempts to convince party members to agree to the coalition deal.

Nahles said she would start campaigning at the weekend for members to vote "yes" to a coalition with Merkel, who has led the European Union's most populous country and economic powerhouse since 2005.

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

In a cartoon published on Tuesday, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily showed Nahles with a whip riding an SPD snail. Schulz's resignation, however, does not mean he will leave the party, and he can take a ministerial post if the government is actually formed. Media have speculated that one option might be Katarina Barley, a former SPD general secretary and family minister, or SPD veteran Thomas Oppermann. The far-right populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) entered the Bundestag for the first time. Juso leader Kevin Kuehnert has expressed concerns that the SPD would be electorally marginalized during another term as junior partner to the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Christian Social Union (CSU), calling for the renewal of German social democracy in opposition. Merkel's conservative bloc was also down 1 point at 29.5 percent.

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.

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