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Merkel’s grand coalition

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February 8, 2018 -- Members of Germany’s centre-left Social Democrat Party (SPD) must approve the deal between Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU bloc and their own party, led by Martin Schulz.

Merkel, who went to great lengths to woo the 464,000-member SPD, is facing criticism from within the ranks of her conservatives for ceding the powerful finance ministry to Schulz’ party.

Under the coalition agreement, the SPD will control of six of the 15 cabinet positions, including foreign, justice and labour ministries among others.

The formation of a coalition is far from a done deal as Schulz also faces a grassroots plot, led by the SPD youth wing Jusos, to keep the party from entering another coalition with Merkel’s government.

An SPD members’ postal ballot on the deal will take place between February 20 to March 2, with the result due to be announced on March 4. A “No” vote will mean Germany faces a minority government or new elections.

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