SPD, Greens and German Liberals reach agreement on post-Merkel coalition government

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Three German parties have reached an agreement to form a new government that will end the era of longtime Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to Olaf Scholz, who is set to replace her.

Scholz, of the center-left Social Democrats, said he expects party members to bless the deal within the next 10 days.

At a press conference, Scholz and other leaders gave some hints on how the coalition would govern.

Among the first measures agreed: compulsory vaccinations in places where particularly vulnerable people are taken care of, with the possibility of extending this rule. It comes as Germany experiences an increase in the number of cases and the political transition has hampered the country’s response somewhat.

Scholz also stressed the importance of a sovereign Europe, friendship with France and partnership with the United States as cornerstones of the government’s foreign policy – continuing a long tradition of post-war war.

The new government will not seek “the lowest common denominator, but the policy of big impacts,” Scholz promised.

Robert Habeck, co-leader of the Green Party of the Greens, meanwhile said the measures planned by the government would put Germany on the right track to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

The Social Democrats have been negotiating with the Greens and pro-business Free Democrats since they narrowly won the national elections on September 26.

If party members approve, the three-way alliance – which has never before been attempted in a national government – will replace the current “grand coalition” of the country’s mainstream parties. The Social Democrats served as a junior partner to Merkel’s center-right Christian Democrats.

Merkel, who has not run for a fifth term, is expected to be replaced by Scholz, 63, who has been her finance minister and vice-chancellor since 2018.

The three future ruling parties have said they hope parliament will elect Scholz as chancellor in the week of December 6. the other two parties.

News of the deal came as Merkel, 67, headed what was likely her last Cabinet meeting after 16 years in office. Scholz gave her a bouquet of flowers at the meeting.

Alliance negotiations have been relatively smooth and swift compared to previous coalition talks. But the alliance is a potentially difficult mix as it brings together two traditionally left-wing parties with one, the Free Democrats, who has tended to ally with the center-right.

Few details have emerged from the closed-door talks, including how the parties will divide ministerial portfolios.

A preliminary agreement last month indicated that Germany would advance its deadline to end the use of coal-fired electricity from 2038 to 2030, while expanding the deployment of renewable energy production.

At the insistence of the Free Democrats, potential partners said they would not raise taxes or ease debt brakes, making financing a central issue.

Merkel’s Christian Democrats are currently worried about a leadership race over who will become their next leader and revive the party’s fortunes after suffering the worst election result in its history.

(PA)

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