Published: Mon, March 05, 2018
Economy | By

Germany's Political Parties Have Finally Agreed On A New Government

Germany's Political Parties Have Finally Agreed On A New Government

In the end, nearly two-thirds of the valid votes cast by the party's 464,000 members favored a coalition deal with Merkel's Christian Democrats and their Bavarian sister party.

But even with the question of who will run Germany out of the way, the prolonged deadlock has left Merkel weakened.

The challenges are piling up for the chancellor, with Europe looking to her for leadership on a host of economic and security issues. That allows her to form a government after five months without one.

Two in three of the SPD's rank and file voting in a crunch referendum backed a new partnership with Merkel's conservatives, heralding an end to the political stalemate that has plagued Europe's biggest economy since September's inconclusive elections.

"Let's get to work!"

Members of the Social Democrat Party voted in favour of joining a coalition, clearing the last major hurdle to forming a new government.

Sunday's results only partially reflected the SPD's deep ambivalence: 66 percent of members endorsed the new coalition, with 34 percent rejecting it.

The members' support for the deal dropped compared to 2013, when 76% voted in favour.

SPD's youth wing leader, Kevin Kuhnert, said he will continue to press for reforms within the party.

"Others dodged their responsibility". Both of Germany's traditional political heavyweights suffered historically bad results in the September vote, with their combined vote share at 53 percent - barely a majority - as smaller parties surged.

Under the new coalition deal, Germany will spend EUR46 billion on increased pensions, housing, scaling up broadband internet in the countryside and education, all policies with the stamp of the SPD on them. "Now it's clear: SPD will form part of new German government".

However, the chancellor, in power for 12 years, will go into her fourth term with far weaker cards than before, as she had to pay a high price to coax the reluctant SPD back into another loveless "grand coalition".

One opinion poll published last month showed the AfD surpassing the SPD for the first time in a national poll to become the second-strongest party.

The AfD, which would be the biggest opposition party in Germany as the SPD joins the government, vowed to go after Merkel's CDU over its "continuation of the immigration policy without imposing a limit".

However, the new "Grand Coalition" will also make the AfD the largest opposition party in the Bundestag. Some openly criticized Merkel for giving away too much - a rare breach in a party accustomed to strictly enforced discipline.

To her right, Merkel, 63, also faces pressures from her own camp. She has long resisted grooming a successor. The Party has again united together, and he has informed Chancellor Merkel by phone about the result, according to him.

Another contender, 37-year-old Jens Spahn, will be health minister.

Conservatives in Merkel's bloc have demanded the country of about 80 million take in no more than about 200,000 migrants a year.

With the approval of the coalition on Sunday, Merkel will have the chance to serve another four-year term.

"France and Germany will work together in the coming weeks to develop new initiatives and advance the European project", Macron said in a statement.

The SPD has expressed enthusiasm for Macron's proposals.

The SPD will now decide who will fill the six ministerial roles it is entitled to before Mrs Merkel's expected election by parliament on 14 March.

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