Germany: Social Democrats approve coalition deal
66 pct. vote in favor of forming coalition government with Merkel’s Christian Democrats
By Ayhan Simsek
BERLIN (AA) – Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) voted in favor of forming a coalition government with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, according to results announced on Sunday.
The SPD said 66 percent of its members who took part in the binding postal ballot approved the coalition deal with Merkel’s CDU/CSU bloc.
Some 239,604 members of the SPD voted “yes”, and 123,329 members voted “no” in the mini-referendum, party treasurer Dietmar Nietan told a news conference in Berlin.
The vote cleared the way for a “grand coalition” government between the SPD, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its sister party Christian Social Union (CSU).
The leaders of the SPD and Merkel’s CDU/CSU bloc had reached a preliminary agreement on Feb. 7 to form another “grand coalition” government, after a 136-day post-election stalemate.
The party organs of the CDU and CSU had approved the coalition deal last month.
Merkel-led conservative-left coalition government is expected to take office following a vote at the German parliament on March 14.
It will be the third “grand coalition” between the Christian Democrats and Social Democrats since 2005 and will grant Merkel a fourth consecutive term as the chancellor.
Merkel’s CDU/CSU alliance emerged as the largest bloc in the parliament following September’s federal election, but they failed to secure an absolute majority.
The SPD suffered its worst result in decades but remained the second-largest party in parliament.