Published: Tue, March 06, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Merkel vows swift return to work for govt to boost Europe

Merkel vows swift return to work for govt to boost Europe

The far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD), which would be the biggest opposition party in Germany as the SPD joins the government, vowed to go after Merkel's CDU over its 'continuation of the immigration policy without imposing a limit'. "The SPD will enter the next government".

Some within the Social Democratic Party, particularly on the left, had argued that the party wouldn't benefit from propping up Merkel for another term. Since 2005 Chancellor Merkel has led Europe's largest economy, this will tie her with Helmut Kohl as being the country's longest-serving chancellor, serving 16 years in the position. The voting took place four months after Merkel failed to make a coalition in her first try.

But last week she successfully fought off an incipient rebellion in her own party by bringing a younger generation into her cabinet and paving the way for her eventual succession.

In a statement yesterday, Merkel said, "this is a good decision for the SPD and especially for our country".

It is not the result she would have wanted when she began her election campaign past year - she had to surrender control of key government departments including the powerful finance ministry to get a deal.

The SPD members' vote also helped Europe's leading powerhouse avoid snap elections or an unstable minority government.

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Her weakness on the refugee issue has forced the chancellor to name Jens Spahn, her main critic within the conservative bloc, as health minister in the new government. The party is set to hold six ministries, including the important Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Finance.

Meanwhile, Germany's deputy energy minister Rainer Baake has resigned from his post, citing his disappointment over the climate policy plans in the new coalition agreement. After the second Grand Coalition between 2013 and 2017 as a junior coalition partner, the share fell to 20.5 percent in September elections.

On Saturday, Mr Scholz had said turn-out in the poll had been "very, very high" after an intense internal campaign that pitted the party's pro-coalition leadership against its more radical youth wing, which campaigned for "No".

But Volker Kauder, parliamentary leader of the conservatives, said his bloc would focus on curbing immigration.

Merkel, who was selected for a fourth term, congratulated her future partners and said that she needs "a clear result".

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