Germany's SPD clears way for Merkel's fourth term

06 March, 2018, 02:47 | Author: Edward Snyder
  • Merkel in line for a fourth term after months of uncertainty

In the elections on September 24., Merkel's party had 33 percent of the votes followed by SPD with 20.5 percent, the nationalist Alternative for Germany with 12.6 percent, the liberal Free Democrats with 10.7 percent, the left with 9.2 percent and the Greens with 8.9 percent. "The SPD will be in the next government", said SPD's caretaker chairman Olaf Scholz, adding that his party plans to send three male and three women ministers to the cabinet.

The leaders of the SPD and Merkel's CDU/CSU bloc had reached a preliminary agreement on February 7 to form another "grand coalition" government, after a 136-day post-election stalemate.

Five months after an inconclusive election, and after the failure of Merkel's first attempt to form a government with two smaller parties, the long-serving chancellor's best hope of securing a fourth term lies with the SPD.

SPD leaders, who reversed a decision to go into opposition and are under pressure to rejuvenate their party after suffering their worst result in September's election since Germany became a federal republic in 1949, have vowed to fight the conservatives on major issues.

The Social Democrats' membership ballot backed a coalition deal with Merkel's Union bloc by a two-thirds majority.

The SPD's "green light" is a sign to stabilize the European Union after the Brexit.




The result of the SPD vote announced on Sunday brought relief to both German businesses and European capitals, which believe the euro zone would benefit from Merkel now being able to partner with France on President Emmanuel Macron's ambitious plans to reform the single currency bloc. 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. It's time for Merkel to think about her legacy.

However, the new "Grand Coalition" will also make the AfD the largest opposition party in the Bundestag. In order for the SPD to agree on entering into a new coalition with the CDU/CSU, many concessions had to be made in their favor.

Congratulating the SPD for its "clear result", Merkel said she was looking forward to 'further cooperation for the good of our country, ' according to a tweet attributed to her on her CDU party's account.

Josef Joffe, publisher-editor of weekly Die Zeit, questioned whether Merkel would last out the full parliamentary term to 2021, "or whether she will be forced to hand over leadership to a younger CDU generation in two years".

The negotiation for government formation with the Union coincided with a decline of SPD's support rate.

AfD mocked the SPD's decision, predicting that its decline would continue when Germany holds its next national election.

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