Published: Fri, February 09, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Merkel achieves breakthrough in German coalition deal

Merkel achieves breakthrough in German coalition deal

Merkel's fate now lies in the hands of the SPD, as Schulz has promised to give his party's 460,000 members the final say on whether to accept the coalition pact.

Christian von Stetten, a lawmaker from Merkel's own Christian Democrats (CDU), told Reuters the allocation of cabinet posts, and the finance ministry in particular, had been "a political mistake".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and their Social Democrat (SPD) partners are facing a mix of skepticism, relief and resignation after forging a deal on a new coalition.

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But an agreement became inevitable after Germany's inconclusive general election results last September, and the Chancellor's subsequent failure to attract two small German parties into her government. Merkel has been fighting to remain in power since September's disastrous elections and the price she pays could be heavy, with her new government set to be much more active in pursuing greater European integration and reform and Schulz, the former European parliament president who has called for a United States of Europe, ensconced in Cabinet as foreign minister.

The move by Schmidt, a conservative, effectively allowed the extension in glyphosate use within the European Union, despite opposition from France and from the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) in Germany's current government coalition. The SPD also plunged to a post-World War II low, leaving the two biggest parties weakened and Germany's left and right fringes strengthened.

Under the coalition agreement, the SPD will retain control of the foreign, justice and labour ministries among others.

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Paradoxically, the political right's dismay could win over more reluctant SPD members. Mass-selling daily Bild said Merkel had sold out.

But now with a paucity of leaders, Nahles could be one of the SPD's last chances to rescue it from its misfortunes.

Meanwhile the finance job could go to the popular mayor of northern port city Hamburg, pro-business centrist Olaf Scholz, often eyed as a potential SPD chancellor candidate. He served as labor minister from 2007 to 2009, in her first "grand coalition" with the SPD, and found himself defending the government's cuts in social programs against attacks by the SPD's left wing.

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Four years ago, the majority of the party's rank and file were on board with joining Merkel's government. A green light could see a new Merkel-led government in place by the end of next month.

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