Smallest partner approves deal on new German government

Feb 09, 2018, 02:32
Smallest partner approves deal on new German government

The deal would see Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union and its Bavaria-only sister party, the Christian Social Union, continue their four-year partnership with the center-left Social Democrats.

Following days of marathon negotiations, a relieved Merkel told reporters the agreement would create "the good and stable government that our country needs and that many in the world expect from us".

But before anyone can take up their posts in a new Merkel-led cabinet, the SPD's rank-and-file have to give their blessing to the coalition pact.

Merkel admitted the debate on the division of ministries "wasn't easy" while Schulz held up the coalition deal as bearing "the strong signature of the Social Democrats".

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Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, under the agreement, would gain the economy ministry while giving up the interior and finance spots.

It said that, following an all-night session, the three parties still have to work through a relatively short list of disagreements before reaching a final agreement.

There is growing discontent in the party at the number of key ministries Mrs Merkel has handed over to her coalition partners, and particularly at the loss of the powerful finance ministry to the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD).

Merkel's CDU is holding a party congress February 26 to endorse the deal.

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If a deal emerges, it won't bring an immediate end to the political limbo following Germany's September 24 election.

Here are some facts about the upcoming members' ballot.

Many grassroots SPD members are skeptical about joining another alliance with Merkel, especially since its last four years as junior partner to Merkel's conservatives since 2013 culminated in the SPD's worst election result in the postwar period.

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