German SPD votes for coalition talks with Merkel

German SPD votes for coalition talks with Merkel

German SPD votes for coalition talks with Merkel

Written by Nathasha De Alwis

22 Jan, 2018 | 11:38 am

Germany’s Social Democrats voted yesterday (Jan 21) to begin formal coalition talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, moving Europe’s economic powerhouse one step closer to a stable government after months of political deadlock.

SPD delegates voted by 362 to 279, with one abstention, to press ahead with negotiations. The centre-left party’s leaders had agreed a preliminary coalition blueprint with Merkel’s conservative bloc earlier this month.

A recount was held after an initial show of hands was too close for the SPD official in charge of the count to call.

Just before delegates voted, SPD leader Martin Schulz made an impassioned plea for a ‘yes’, telling them their decision was being watched across Germany and Europe.

Coalition talks are now expected to start this week, a step likely to be welcomed by Germany’s partners in Europe, where Merkel has long played a leading role in economic and security affairs.

SPD party members will still get to vote on any final coalition deal that emerges, however.

Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday they wanted to deepen bilateral cooperation and give the European Union a fresh push towards closer integration.


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