German Chancellor Angela Merkel set to serve 4th term


The parties have a few more days left to get their affairs in order and make final selections of key cabinet members before signing the coalition agreement on March 14, and as a result, electing Angela Merkel chancellor of Germany for a fourth and most likely final term in office.

MEMBERS of Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD) have voted in favour of a coalition with Angela Merkel's Christian Democrat (CDU) conservatives.

Merkel was weakened by her decision in 2015 to welcome hundreds of thousands of people seeking asylum, which contributed to the rise of a far-right party that stole conservative voters.

The SPD initially vowed to rebuild in opposition, only agreeing to talks on a return to its loveless marriage with Merkel after her negotiations with two smaller parties collapsed in November, plunging Germany into political uncertainty.

Germany's second biggest party, the Social Democrats (SPD), Sunday finally gave the all-clear to renew their partnership with Merkel's conservatives, ending a political impasse that had plagued the country since September's inconclusive election.

The idea was to keep one of the most influential leaders, Merkel as the Chancellor in Berlin.

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.

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Senior conservative Jens Spahn, seen as one possible successor to Merkel, warned the SPD on Monday against obstructing government policy in a re-run of the coalition that has ruled since 2013.

Sunday's SPD vote result brought relief to German businesses and European capitals, which believe the euro zone would benefit from Merkel being able to partner with France on President Emmanuel Macron's ambitious plans to reform the single currency bloc.

Merkel's CDU already named ministers last week with former environment minister Peter Altmaier taking over as new minister for the economy and energy.

"We now have clarity: the SPD will join the next German government", he added. In the end, though, two-thirds of its 464,000 members voted in favor of the coalition deal.

"Criticism of the grand coalition remains", he tweeted after the ballot result."The SPD needs to be more like it has been in recent weeks and less like it has been in recent years - the Jusos will ensure this".

Angela Merkel, also referred to as "Muttie" (mother) Merkel is still a popular choice in her country.

Josef Joffe, publisher-editor of weekly Die Zeit, questioned whether Merkel would last out the full parliamentary term to 2021, "or whether she will be forced to hand over leadership to a younger CDU generation in two years".