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SPD leader Martin Schulz's political gamble has failed

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It's been a veritable political roller coaster ride. On Wednesday, the Social Democrat's (SPD) leader Martin Schulz looked like a winner after successfully negotiating with and getting Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), to agree to numerous concessions. At it stands, the SPD will be in charge of the Labour and Finance Ministries if a coalition government is formed. And Schulz himself had looked set to become Germany's next foreign minister. But now, the former European Parliament president is suddenly on the outside looking in. He will step down as SPD leader, and now he no longer wants to become foreign minister, either. So what happened?

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Martin Schulz has dragged his party through a number of political u-turns and strategic blunders. His latest gamble — seeking to retain some political capital by stepping down as SPD leader but aiming to becoming Germany's foreign minster — has failed. The ambitious former SPD leader and incumbent foreign minister, Sigmar Gabriel, very much intends to keep his position in the next government.

When friends become foes

In a recent interview, Gabriel expressed anger and contempt at the political ploy by Schulz — a man whom he once considered a friend. "This morning, my little daughter Marie told me: 'Daddy, don't be sad, now you'll have more time for us. That's better than spending time with the man with the hairy face,'" he said, his daughter referring to the bearded Schulz.

DW's Katharina Kroll

The media ran with that quote, and it became a major talking point in the German........

© Deutsche Welle