Martin Schulz exits coalition in bid to stave off revolt

Martin Schulz exits coalition in bid to stave off revolt

Martin Schulz exits coalition in bid to stave off revolt

SPD leader Martin Schulz, poised to become foreign minister if party members back the coalition deal, has urged the European Union to ensure that Big Tech pays more tax.

"I hereby forgo joining the federal government", Schulz announced, adding, "at the same time, I sincerely hope that this will end the personnel debates within the SPD". 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.

"Once the two parties have officially presented their coalition agreement, the Social Democrats will allow its 460,000 members a vote on whether the party should formally enter a governing coalition with Merkel's party".

The shock announcement comes just days after Merkel's conservatives and the SPD agreed to form a coalition government.

Merkel has relied on exactly this coalition for two of her three four-year terms.

CDU delegates will get their own chance to vote on the coalition deal at a party congress on February 24.

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Many young and leftist members are against the renewed so-called Grand Coalition between the SPD and the Union.

There was no sign of an imminent end to talks between Merkel's Union bloc and the Social Democrats early Wednesday, some 21 hours into what party leaders have said should be the final round of negotiations.

"I know it wasn't an easy decision for him", Nahles told reporters in her home village of Weiler in western Germany, saying Schulz deserved respect and recognition for stepping aside so as not to jeopardise the party vote on the coalition.

Tensions are also reported between him and Sigmar Gabriel, an SPD colleague who is now foreign minister.

A breakthrough was finally announced on Wednesday, with major concessions given to the SPD. The results from that are due in early March, and that vote is now looking too close to call either way. He also wants to create the post of European Union finance minister.

If a deal emerges, it won't bring an immediate end to the political limbo following Germany's September 24 election.

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