Germany Social Democrats back coalition with Merkel

KEVIN Kuehnert the head of the youth wing of Germany’s Social Democratic Party.—Reuters

Angela Merkel will be made Germany's chancellor once again after the Social Democrats voted to join her party in forming a coalition. But it is surely the beginning of the end.

Mr Scholz, the mayor of Hamburg and a centrist Social Democrat, is viewed as the frontrunner for a post the party wrested from Ms Merkel in the coalition deal sealed in February. Many analysts here predict she will now be able to finish her fourth and final term as Chancellor without having to face challengers.

'We now have clarity: the SPD will join the next German government'. That means it has less than half the support of the conservatives and puts it just one point ahead of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).

Like French President Emmanuel Macron, who is pushing for "a Europe that protects", the SPD wants to promote economic stability and social convergence through the European project.

"I congratulate the SPD on this clear result and look forward to further cooperation for the benefit of our country", the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) tweeted on behalf of Merkel later on Sunday.

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 inclusion in the coalition deal of a clause that envisages a review of the new government's progress after two years is widely seen as giving the SPD an exit should it want one, and has also fueled a debate about the post-Merkel era. That weakness, and the arrival of a far-right party in parliament, reflect a changing political landscape that nearly derailed Ms Merkel's bid to extend her 12 years in office. 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 center-left party against the radical youth wing, which wanted the SPD to rebuild in opposition after its disastrous election showing.

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.

"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". That is perhaps an understatement, considering the pushback against a new grand coalition that has roiled Germany in recent weeks. Turn-out in the poll was over 78 percent.

The SPD was forced to revisit its original plan to go into opposition after the failure of Merkel's initial attempt to form a coalition with two smaller parties.

"While the United States are starting a trade war and China is challenge our industrial leadership, we have been unnecessarily self-absorbed", engineering trade union VDMA's managing director Thilo Brodtmann said.

A crushing majority enjoyed by her conservatives and the SPD in the last coalition has been trimmed to a slim 56 percent (399 out of total 709) of seats in parliament this time round.

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