February 7, 2018 / 6:06 PM / in a year

German SPD's Schulz optimistic membership will back coalition

Social Democratic Party (SPD) leader Martin Schulz reacts during a statement with Christian Democratic Union (CDU) leader and German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Christian Social Union (CSU) leader Horst Seehofer after coalition talks to form a new coalition government in Berlin, Germany, February 7, 2018. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

BERLIN (Reuters) - The leader of Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) said he was optimistic that he could persuade his party’s members to back the coalition deal he sealed with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives on Wednesday morning.

Martin Schulz said he would step down as leader of the party after the member ballot, the results of which come on March 4. The passionate pro-European said he wanted to become foreign minister if members ratified the deal.

“I will fight for renewal of European Union,” he said of his plan for the job.

He urged the party to elect parliamentary floor leader Andrea Nahles his successor as party leader at an upcoming party congress and said the two would together campaign for members to support the coalition deal.

Reporting by Thomas Escritt, editing by Michelle Martin

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