Smallest partner approves deal on new German government

Marsha Scott
February 9, 2018

The steering committee of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), is set to approve the new German coalition deal on Thursday.

"I think the cabinet formation, as it is now, is a political mistake", said Christian von Stetten, a CDU lawmaker who represents business interests, told broadcaster ARD, adding that this applied in particular to giving up the finance portfolio, according to Reuters.

But a copy of the coalition agreement obtained by Agence France-Presse indicated that he was able to extract a high price from the conservatives in the final round of talks including control of the powerful finance and foreign ministries, as well as the labor, family affairs, justice and environment portfolios. The mass-selling daily Bild said Merkel had sold out. We will keep the finances stable.

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Now, the demoralized SPD is hoping that the 47-year-old Nahles can lead the centre-left party on a revival path after a series of election humiliations plunged it into an identity crisis. Observers expect the referendum to be tight, with the SPD's left and youth wings fiercely opposed to another four years governing in Merkel's shadow. The result, expected March 4, is unpredictable because many are suspicious of entering a new government after a disastrous election result. The agreement promises a half-time review after two years, when the parties will reassess things - which is already seen as a possible opportunity for Merkel finally to step down. Die Welt took a pessimistic view, calling the deal "Merkel's last contingent" and going on in its lead story to question whether Germans would take this new government seriously.

They are in dispute over the SPD's call to replace Germany's dual public-private healthcare system with a universal insurance system.

And it still has to be approved by the full SPD membership.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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