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

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

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

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday vowed to work with the Social Democrats for the "good of Germany", after the centre-left party agreed to join her new coalition, but the veteran leader will go into her fourth term with weaker cards than before.

In the internal referendum of the 463,000 plus SPD members, over 66 percent of ballots voted for "yes", with a high participation rate of 78.39 percent, Dietmar Nietan, head of the SPD Mandate and Counting Commission, announced at a press conference at the SPD Headquarters.

Two-thirds of SPD members approved the coalition pact on Sunday morning - a wider-than-expected margin - which means Ms Merkel could be re-inaugurated by mid-March, in a repeat of the "grand coalition" that has ruled since 2013.

Merkel, who has proved herself a shrewd global negotiator during more than 12 years in office, faced her greatest challenge at home after deciding to allow over a million asylum-seekers into Germany since 2015.

European partners waiting impatiently for post-war Germany to end its longest stretch of coalition haggling heaved a sigh of relief.

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The fragmented vote turnovers made the Union to turn to the Free Democrats and the Greens to form a majority in the Bundestag, but it failed in November after four weeks of discussion.

EU Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici praised the party for its "responsible and decisive vote" and said on Twitter that "Germany is now ready to engage for a stronger Europe".

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However, he added: 'The new government could be more important for Europe than for the domestic economy as without this agreement it would have been hard, if not impossible, to get any meaningful reform done in the coming months.

To her right, Merkel, 63, also faces pressures from her own camp. In a tweet, they labeled the SPD's decision a "catastrophe" for Germany, promising fierce opposition to the government. Both sides had been weakened as voters angry about the arrival of more than a million asylum seekers in Germany since 2015 turned to the far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD).

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"Criticism of the grand coalition remains".

Illustrating his lukewarm support for the new tie-up with the SPD, he described the coalition agreement this week as "no furious firework of innovation". The party is set to hold six ministries, including the important Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Finance.

The coalition will be the third such arrangement for the three parties under Merkel since 2005.

"The SPD will enter into government", said SPD's caretaker leader, Olaf Scholz, who is a contender for the role of finance minister. "We didn't", deputy SPD leader Ralf Stegner told German broadcasters, reflecting the grim, do-your-duty argument that had coursed through the "yes" camp. It has sunk to an all-time low in survey by Emnid published on Saturday. A "no" vote would have been a blow for the party's leadership - who campaigned for members' approval - and for Merkel, who spent months negotiating with rival parties to form a new government. It is the worst result ever measured by the Emnid for the over 150-year-old SPD, while the AfD stood at 15 percent.

"In 2021 at the latest, they'll pay the price", AfD tweeted in a message that contained cartoons of Nahles and Merkel and the caption "four more nightmare years for Germany".

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