Social Democrats’ leader gives up on plan to become foreign minister

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Martin Schulz, the leader of Germany’s centre-left Social Democrats, has said he is giving up on plans to become the country’s foreign minister amid turbulence in his party after it clinched a coalition deal with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives.

Mr Schulz said the success of the membership ballot was endangered by the discussion about his future, “so I am hereby declaring that I will not enter the government and fervently hope that this ends the personnel debates inside the Social Democratic Party”.

The job is currently held by Sigmar Gabriel, who handed the party leadership to Mr Schulz a year ago and has become one of Germany’s most popular politicians since taking on the role of foreign minister.

The Social Democrats are putting the coalition deal agreed on Wednesday to a ballot of all their members.