Merkel welcomes centre-left's OK for coalition

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a statement a the Christian Democratic Union headquarters in Berlin Germany

The CSU on Monday spoiled her election pledge to have a cabinet consisting of an equal number of men and women by announcing three male politicians to fill the transport, development and interior portfolios.

Angela Merkel has served as Chancellor of Germany since 2005.

Angela Merkel has welcomed the decision by members of Germany's Social Democratic Party to support a coalition government with the long-time chancellor.

Conservatives in Merkel's bloc have demanded the country of about 80 million take in no more than about 200,000 migrants a year. The SPD, by contrast, wants to allay people's insecurities with spending on welfare and education. With the SPD's emphatic decision to move forward with a new partnership, Merkel is expected to launch her fourth government by mid-March.

Wary of ceding further ground to the far-right Islamophobic outfit as voters turn away from traditional parties, Merkel's conservatives and the SPD have inserted a clause to review their cooperation in two years.

It's now hoped that the new government will be in place by the end of March, putting Germany in a much more stable position and able to begin dealing with the challenges for European Union reform being seen across the European Union member states.

The far-right party, which garnered almost 13 percent in the September election, also vowed to go after Merkel's CDU over its "continuation of the immigration policy without imposing a limit".

"Despite the pretty solid majority (in the SPD ballot), this is not a long-term or permanent set up", said Guntram Wolff, director of the Bruegel think tank.


With Merkel's bloc and the second-place Social Democrats in government, the right-wing Alternative for Germany, or AfD, now represents the biggest opposition party in Parliament, giving it a prominent platform to attack the chancellor.

Ms Merkel congratulated the SPD on a "clear result".

Angela Merkel does not want Germany's national anthem to be changed, her spokesman said after a member of the chancellor's Social Democrat (SPD) coalition partner said words such as "fatherland" and "brotherland" should be made gender neutral. After all, Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, Europe's big two, are both solidly pro-European Union (EU).

Kevin Kuehnert, head of the SPD's Jusos youth wing who campaigned for a "No" vote, is ready to call out any delay in implementing the hard-won coalition deal, which envisages eurozone reforms in partnership with France. "Criticisms agai-nst the GroKo remain", he wrote.

There will also be challenges within the country itself that the new government will have to face.

Fiercely opposed to her open-door refugee policy, Spahn has advocated a sharp conservative shift to coax back voters from the AfD.

For now, Merkel is hanging on and is due to be re-elected as chancellor by parliament on March 14 as President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, according to procedure, on Monday nominated her for the post.

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