Coalition deal in Germany to go ahead

Coalition deal in Germany to go ahead

Coalition deal in Germany to go ahead

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is awaiting the results of a vote by her potential coalition partner — the center-left Social Democrats — to learn if she will be able to form a new government.

Merkel welcomed the vote by a clear majority of SPD members that ended more than five months of political deadlock after an inconclusive election, and she said the right-left government must quickly get to work.

"I congratulate the SPD on this clear result and look forward to further cooperation for the benefit of our country", the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) tweeted on behalf of Merkel later on Sunday.

Al Jazeera's Dominic Kane reports from Berlin. An anti-migrant party came in third in last year's election, upending Germany's traditional coalition calculus. With the party riven over its way forward, its leadership promised its more than 4,60,000 members the final say on any coalition deal.

To stop the SPD from leaving the coalition, Merkel must deliver on those points in the coalition deal that are most dear to the Social Democrats: healthcare reform and investment in education to meet the challenges of the digital age. "The SPD will be in the next government", said SPD's caretaker chairman Olaf Scholz, adding that his party plans to send three male and three women ministers to the cabinet.

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.

"Merkel needs to appease a weakened and insecure SPD without alienating her own CDU and the CSU too much", said Carsten Nickel, managing director at consultancy Teneo Intelligence.

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In a statement yesterday, Merkel said, "this is a good decision for the SPD and especially for our country".

The SPD initially vowed to rebuild in opposition, only agreeing to talks on a return to its loveless marriage with Merkel after her negotiations with two smaller parties collapsed in November, plunging Germany into political uncertainty.

Both Merkel's conservatives and the SPD are under pressure to appear distinctive to voters in a coalition borne out of necessity rather than choice, making it hard for Merkel to balance conflicting demands.

In power since 2005, she has led Germany and the European Union through the financial and debt crises, but her waning authority at home could complicate efforts to deepen integration in the euro zone. Senior conservative Jens Spahn, seen as one possible successor to Merkel, warned the SPD on Monday against obstructing government policy in a re-run of the coalition that has ruled since 2013.

Spahn, 37, wants to make the AfD "superfluous" by winning back voters on the right.

SPD support also secures Angela Merkel's reappointment as chancellor, which is expected to take place in the Bundestag on 14 March.

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