Merkel says looks forward to continue working with SPD

Hannah Rogers
March 5, 2018

The SPD have agreed to partner with the Christian Democrats in a vote of the party's 464,000 members.

He added: "We now have clarity, the SPD will enter the next federal government".

The announcement by the party's leadership ended nearly six months of uncertainty in German politics, the longest the country has been without a government in its post-war history.

Parliament is expected to meet next week to elect Merkel as chancellor.

"I congratulate the SPD on this clear result and look forward to continuing to work together for the good of our country", Merkel said on her Christian Democrats' (CDU) Twitter feed.

NELSON: He told German public broadcaster ARD that the last partnership between his party and the Conservatives was unremarkable and left Germany rudderless, with mainstream parties doing poorly in the last elections.

The center-left Social Democrats voted overwhelmingly to remain in a coalition with Merkel's conservative bloc, after hard and drawn-out negotiations triggered by September's elections, which saw the rise of a new right-wing force in German politics and raised questions about Merkel's future.

Merkel has shared power with the SPD in two of her previous three terms in office, from 2005-2009, and from 2013 until now.

The SPD's approval ended the five-month-long political stalemate and cleared way for Germany's new government after the September 24 Federal Parliament elections, in which both of the two blocs suffered the worst turnovers since 1949. French President Macron's ambitions to reform the EU can not be achieved without the efforts from Germany and a government in Berlin highlighting European policies.

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The SPD ballot pitted the leadership of the centre-left party against the radical youth wing, which wanted the SPD to rebuild in opposition after a disastrous election showing. Furthermore, the CDU itself will be preoccupied by the leadership succession question as this will be Ms Merkel's last term.

Kevin Kuehnert, head of the SPD's youth wing, said he was disappointed but that the "Jusos" (youth wing) would keep up their criticism, signaling that, after bringing in a flood of new members, they would be a thorn in the leadership's side.

The SPD's decision to form a coalition with the CDU?and CSU also makes the anti-immigrant and populist Alternative for Germany, the largest opposition party in the German parliament, the Bundestag. "The SPD needs to be more like it has been in recent weeks and less like it has been in recent years - the Jusos will ensure this".

"In 2021 at the latest, they'll pay the price", AfD tweeted in a message that contained cartoons of Nahles and Merkel and the caption "four more nightmare years for Germany".

A poll published on Sunday showed the SPD falling one percentage point to 16 percent, its lowest ever reading in the Emnid survey.

The Social Democrats have more than 463,000 members.

With her conservatives, they thrashed out a coalition agreement which SPD leaders hailed for its commitments to strengthening the European Union and giving them key government roles.

However, the SPD joining the "Grand Coalition" is facing internal opposition by many young and leftist members who are afraid of being further marginalized by the Union.

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