nsucurrent.com March 17, 2018

Germany to start work on trade, China, Syria war, says Merkel

06 March 2018, 02:05 | Colleen Roy

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Merkel says Germany has “no-go areas;” government won't say where

"Now to work", tweeted Peter Altmaier of Ms Merkel's Christian Democrat party (CDU), who is set to become economy minister.

The common currency found some support as Germany's Social Democrats (SPD) decisively backed another coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives. In the end, though, two-thirds of its 464,000 members voted in favor of the coalition deal.

The general-secretary of Merkel's party and her possible future successor, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, said in statement on Sunday that "the new government has a lot of work ahead of it that needs to be started soon". In 2015 Germany had to deal with an influx of more than a million refugees who were able to enter the country due to her open-door immigration policy, which sparked a huge debate about immigration not just in Germany but other European countries as well. Now the parliament consists of lawmakers from seven political parties.

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.

European partners waiting impatiently for Germany to end its longest stretch of coalition haggling since the end of the war heaved a sigh of relief, with French President Emmanuel Macron calling the SPD decision 'good news for Europe'.

But her troubles are far from over.

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.

The joyless partnership was evident in the sombre faces of leading SPD members Sunday when they announced that their card-carrying members had signed off on their plan to again join Merkel in government.

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".

Merkel made the comments in her weekly podcast, published on March 3, in which she said that Germany and France have chose to place "more emphasis than in the past" on the proposal, and that both governments will "push on with the common corporation tax" idea.

At SDP headquarters in Berlin, acting leader Olaf Scholz said: "The vast majority of SPD members followed the party leadership's suggestion". The voting took place four months after Merkel failed to make a coalition in her first try.

The direction of her new government remains to be seen. He has also advocated a sharp conservative shift in a bid to woo back voters from the AfD, which garnered almost 13 per cent in the September election.

Ms Merkel will be formally voted in on March 14, but is expected to begin forming a new government immediately.

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