After six months of continued political deadlock in Germany, the coalition deal has been finalised. Leader Angela Merkel has led Europe’s largest economy since 2005, and is now due to start her fourth term in a coalition with Germany’s Social Democratic Party following a period of uncertainty, which has been the longest the country has been without a government in its entire post-war history.
The result of the postal ballot resulted in 66% voting in favour of the coalition and 34% voting against, which was announced on Sunday. It’s still significantly less than the 76% vote that the coalition saw in the election four years ago, however this was a far clearer result than the one seen earlier in the year.
But, with both parties facing internal calls for reform, and the far right group AfD now being the government’s largest opposition party, there are still some fears over the future stability of the new government. For now though, the coalition is stable and this result has shown some much needed clarity. “We now have some clarity”, said the Social Democrats’ caretaker leader, Olaf Scholz, a contender for the role of finance minister, speaking at the Willy Brandt House. “The SPD will enter into government”.
It’s now hoped that the new government will be in place by the end of March, putting Germany in a much more stable position and able to begin dealing with the challenges for EU reform being seen across the EU member states.
French president Emmanuel Macron’s reaction was positive: “It’s good news for Europe,” his office said on a statement. “France and Germany will work together on new initiatives in the coming weeks to bring the European project forward.” Germany’s SPD MEP Jo Leinen added that: “Europe has a high priority. Germany will be ready for solidarity in the eurozone as well as in the EU.”
There will also be challenges within the country itself that the new government will have to face. For example, there’s the ongoing threat to Germany’s car industry with US president Trump making threats to tax all vehicles manufactured in Europe. Merkel, along with the other ministers, will also have to find new ways to deal with the proposed bans on diesel cars in cities as set out in a recent court ruling.
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