Leadership row drags Germany's SPD into new crisis after coalition deal

Angela Merkel

GETTYAngela Merkel's popularity has plummeted as she scrambles to secure another term as Chancellor

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.

As both the parties that have dominated post-war Germany descended into internal squabbling, a new INSA poll showed their popularity had slumped, their combined support at just 46 percent.

Scholz played up the SPD's achievements in coalition negotiations with Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) and her Bavarian allies, at which the center-left party won the powerful finance ministry to the frustration of many in the CDU.

With many SPD rank and file harboring misgivings about sharing power with Merkel again, the result of the vote, due on March 4, is wide open. The far-right populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) entered the Bundestag for the first time. He has faced strong criticism inside the SPD.

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. He would follow eight years of Wolfgang Schäuble, who dominated Europe's policy response to the eurozone debt crisis, forcing eurozone countries, which received worldwide bailout loans, to enact significant budget cuts and other tough austerity measures.

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Paul Ziemiak, leader of the conservatives' youth wing, welcomed Merkel's readiness to set out her picks for ministerial posts before a CDU party conference on February 26.

Mrs Merkel came under fire for giving key ministries to the SPD to secure a fourth term as German chancellor.

"That did not go down well with our (party) base", he said.

The party's membership will vote next week on the coalition deal struck last week between Mr Schulz and Mrs Merkel.

Top SPD officials will meet on Tuesday to decide on a change of leadership.

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The planned handover of the SPD leadership from Martin Schulz to Andrea Nahles is also viewed with skepticism, according to a survey by Emnid for Sunday's edition of the Bild newspaper.

The party leadership reversed course Tuesday and said they were nominating Nahles to run for election as chairwoman at a special party congress on April 22.

"We can't have a situation where two, three or four people have a discussion and say who does what".

Before the elections, Schulz said the SPD would not form another grand coalition with the Union.

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