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Martin Schulz, a former president of the European Parliament, led the SPD at last year’s federal elections at which the party made it worst showing since the end of World War II / Photo: SPD

Martin Schulz resigns as leader of Germany’s Social Democrats

The leader of Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD), Martin Schulz, resigned from his post on Tuesday. His resignation went into effect immediately.

“With my resignation from office and decision not to participate in the government, I want to bring the personnel debate in the SPD to an end so that the members can really concentrate on what is in the coalition agreement,” Schulz told reporters, almost a year after he was elected as SPD party head with 100 percent of the vote.

“I depart this office without bitterness or resentment,” he said.

Schulz proposed the head of SPD’s parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Andrea Nahles, as his successor, but it’s now up to the party’s congress in April to decide on its leadership.

Hamburg Mayor Olaf Scholz, who is slated to become Germany’s next finance minister, will provisionally lead the party until the 22 April party congress.

The resignation came days after SPD struck a “grand coalition” deal with German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc. The deal has potentially paved the way for Germany to finally form a government after months of political instability following the indecisive parliamentary elections in September 2017. The coalition still has to be approved by SPD’s members in March.

Sola Jolaoso

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