Outgoing Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder told MPs today he will give up his parliamentary seat, members of his party said, completing his withdrawal from day-to-day politics after seven years as German leader.
Schroeder told MPs from his Social Democratic Party that he will give up his seat on Wednesday, a day after the new parliament elects conservative Angela Merkel as his successor, two party officials who were present at the meeting told The Associated Press.
The officials asked for anonymity because they were not authorised to disclose Schroeder’s withdrawal before it is announced officially.
Schroeder had left open whether he would continue as a regular MP following his party’s narrow defeat in September elections. The Social Democrats have joined Merkel’s conservative-led coalition, but Schroeder declined to serve as her deputy.
Schroeder, 61, has rejected suggestions that he could pick up company directorships, saying instead that he would like to return to his roots as a lawyer and plans to write a book about his turbulent seven years in government with the environmentalist Greens.
He has said he would like to remain involved in politics, but only in the arms-length style of Social Democrat grandees such as 79-year-old former party chairman Hans-Jochen Vogel.
Schroeder was first elected to the federal parliament, or Bundestag, in 1980, became governor of his native Lower Saxony state a decade later and ousted conservative Chancellor Helmut Kohl in 1998. Kohl hung on as a MP until 2002.
Schroeder’s seat will be allocated to a colleague on the state list of Social Democrat candidates for the parliamentary election.