Germany's Merkel Reportedly Forges Governing Coalition After Weeks Of Talks

Merkel has left herself with precious little room for manouvre
Merkel has left herself with precious little room for manouvre Credit TOBIAS SCHWARZ AFP
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10 February, 2018

Under the terms of the deal struck between Merkel and Schulz earlier this week, the SPD will keep the foreign ministry it held in the last government and also take over the finance ministry from the CDU.

Martin Schulz, the leader of Germany's center-left Social Democrats, on Friday abandoned his plan to become the country's foreign minister, hoping to prevent his party from rejecting a coalition deal with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives.

Having ruled out entering a Merkel-led coalition government in the immediate aftermath of the election, Schulz made a U-turn after the chancellor's attempt to build an unorthodox coalition with the pro-business Free Democratic party and the Green party collapsed.

"Once the two parties have officially presented their coalition agreement, the Social Democrats will allow its 460,000 members a vote on whether the party should formally enter a governing coalition with Merkel's party".

Asked if Sigmar Gabriel would remain foreign minister, she said party leaders would soon decide on a way forward, but their primary focus now was securing a "yes" vote from rank and file.

Citing unidentified party officials, dpa said that Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, its Bavaria-only sister party the Christian Social Union and the Social Democrats overcame the last hurdles to a coalition deal on Wednesday.

The SPD considers Nahles to be one of its more successful members of Merkel's coalition with the SPD.

"At the same time, I sincerely hope that this will end the personnel debates within the SPD.my own personal ambitions must be placed behind the interests of the party", Schulz said.

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But upon the failure of coalition talks between Merkel's conservatives, the liberal FDP and Greens, Schulz led Social Democrats in coalition negotiations with the CDU/CSU alliance.

September's general election was a disaster for the party, however.

The deal will now be submitted to a ballot of the Social Democrats' membership, a process that will take a few weeks.

Discontent also simmered in the youth wing of the conservatives on Friday.

Merkel faced an uphill struggle to maintain power for another four years following a disastrous election campaign.

"Now these SPD politicos, most of whom are relatively unknown outside Berlin, will be the ones to shape the politics of Europe and Germany, the EU's mightiest member, in the years to come".

Some commentators have suggested a mid-term review could offer Merkel the opportunity to step gracefully aside.


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