Germany: Social Democrats approve coalition deal

UK Labour  German SPD – share of national vote since 1990

Stung by their worst post-war results, the SPD had initially ruled out another four years under Merkel's shadow. The Party has again united together, and he has informed Chancellor Merkel by phone about the result, according to him. "We now have clarity".

"We will enter the coalition", SPD acting party leader Olaf Scholz said.

Although the SPD and the Christian Democrats both took a thrashing at the polls, it was the centre-left party that had the greater leverage going into the talks, particularly as it offered Merkel her only alternative to fresh elections and had previously resigned itself to a spell in opposition.

In a nod to the "GroKo", as the grand right-left coalition is known in Germany, European Commission vice president Frans Timmermans wrote on Twitter: 'GroGO!

Brinkhaus acknowledged that Germany would face increased responsibility for Europe given Britain's planned departure from the economic bloc and a result of increased European Union security needs, but said the European Union also needed to find savings in its coffers.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives have formed a coalition government with the opposition Social Democrats. After the second Grand Coalition between 2013 and 2017 as a junior coalition partner, the share fell to 20.5 percent in September elections. Unlike in their previous partnership when Merkel's conservatives and the SPD enjoyed a crushing majority, this time they now have only a slim 56 per cent (399 out of total 709) of seats in parliament.

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Merkel, who has proved herself a shrewd worldwide 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 also faces the challenge of easing tensions within her own conservative bloc, comprising her CDU party and their Christian Social Union (CSU) Bavaria-based partners.

Within her ranks too, Merkel, who once seemed invincible, is looking increasingly vulnerable as calls grow louder for change. In the end, though, two-thirds of its 464,000 members voted in favor of the coalition deal.

Merkel walks in to give a statement prior to a CDU leadership meeting at the party headquarters in Berlin. With disputes over Brexit, migration and tax policy on the horizon, Merkel's steady hand will be badly needed. He has also advocated a sharp conservative shift in a bid to woo back voters from the AfD, which garnered almost 13 per cent in the September election.

Merkel also appreciates the importance of a future government for Europe.

Sueddeutsche daily noted that "she is the one who has made it clear that the CDU is now no longer without a successor for Merkel".

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