German FM Gabriel says he won't be part of next government

FILE - In this Dec. 11, 2015 file photo German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel waves to the delegates as he receives the applause after his speech during the Social Democratic party convention in Berlin. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, file)

BERLIN — German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel tweeted Thursday that he will not be a part of the next government.

Gabriel wrote that the heads of the Social Democratic Party had informed him of the decision and that he is deeply grateful to have worked for his country and the party in leading positions for many years.

The move came after weeks of turbulence in Gabriel's party after it clinched a coalition deal with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives.

The infighting also included a public falling-out with then-party leader Martin Schulz, who was vying to get the foreign minister job. Schulz has since abandoned that ambition, too.

Gabriel has been one of Germany's most popular politicians since becoming foreign minister about a year ago.

The Social Democrats will govern the country together with Merkel, who is to be re-elected next Wednesday.

German news agency dpa reported Thursday that current justice minister Heiko Maas will become foreign minister, while a district mayor of Berlin, Franziska Giffey, will become family minister. Both are with the Social Democrats, but the party didn't confirm the personnel decisions and will announce its picks for ministers on Friday.

Merkel's conservative bloc has already said who will join the ministerial ranks next week. Among the more prominent choices was Horst Seehofer, the head of the Bavaria-only sister party, CSU, who will become Germany's next interior minister.

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