Smallest partner approves deal on new German government

Pauline Gross
February 9, 2018

Neither Dr Merkel's ruling Christian Democrats nor the SPD wanted this deal as they view a coalition agreement as harmful to their long-term interests.

Newspapers around Europe were dominated with news of the agreement reached Wednesday by German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and Martin Schulz's Social Democrats on forming a governing coalition.

"There is very little enthusiasm in the party over the loss of ministries", Daniel Günther, the regional prime minister of Schleswig-Holstein said.

The loss of ministries "cut to the heart of the CDU", Carsten Linnemann, the chairman of the party's small businesses association said.

Germany's pro-spending Social Democrats (SPD) are set to head the finance ministry in a coalition government, while U.S. Senate leaders reached a deal on Wednesday to raise spending on military and domestic programmes by nearly $300 billion over the next two years.

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".

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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. Europe's biggest economy is getting "a coalition of big egos" whose lust for power will increase public cynicism about politicians, Bild said in an editorial on Thursday. But the protracted haggling has left its scars, and surveys suggest the two camps could lose their majority if a "no" vote from SPD members sends the country back to the polling booths.

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.

But even if the deal is approved and a new government starts functioning by the end of next month, Dr Merkel is not enjoying her time in office.

But failure to secure votes for the new coalition would significantly undercut her political authority in the party and plunge the SDP deeper into crisis.

The centre-left SPD saw its previous four years in "grand coalition" rewarded with its worst result in decades in September's national election, and the slide has continued.

A green light could see a new government in place by the end of next month.

Other reports by GizPress

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