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Germany’s SPD approves government coalition deal

Social Democratic Party top candidate for chancellor Olaf Scholz arrives to a SPD faction meeting in Berlin, Germany, September 28, 2021. REUTERS-Hannibal Hanschke

Germany’s centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) voted overwhelmingly Saturday to sign off on the coalition agreement to form a new government with the Greens and the liberal Free Democrats (FDP).

An SPD party conference approved the deal with 98.8 per cent in favour, keeping party leader Olaf Scholz on track to take over from Angela Merkel as chancellor.

“Let’s go to work now,” Scholz said.

The SPD came first in September’s general election with 25.7 per cent, ahead of Merkel’s centre-right Christian Democrats on 24.1 per cent.

Both other coalition parties still have to approve the deal. The FDP party conference is expected to do so Sunday and the results of a vote among Green party members are due Monday.

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If, as expected, all parties give their backing, the coalition agreement will be signed Tuesday. Scholz could then be elected chancellor in the Bundestag on Wednesday and his cabinet sworn in.

Under the coalition deal, the SPD will hold the ministries of labour and social affairs, health, interior, construction, defence and economic development. It hasn’t yet been announced who will fill the posts.

The Greens have already appointed party co-leader Robert Habeck as the head of a new climate and economy ministry, while his fellow co-leader Annalena Baerbock will take over the foreign ministry. Cem Özdemir will hold the agriculture portfolio, Steffi Lemke will be the environment minister and Anne Spiegel will become the family minister.

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FDP leader Christian Lindner is set to become finance minister and party whip Marco Buschmann justice minister. The party’s General-Secretary Volker Wissing will take over the transport ministry and Bettina Stark-Watzinger the education ministry.

Heading for the opposition, the Christian Democratic Union launched a referendum among its party members Saturday to choose a successor to Armin Laschet as party leader. The vote is open until December 16.

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