Social Democrats vote for coalition with Merkel’s conservative bloc

World Today

Germany will soon have a new government, five months after the general election of 2017. The Social Democrats voted in favor of a coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, paving the way for a new government to oversee Europe’s largest economy.

CGTN’s Guy Henderson reports from Berlin.

For an event that was more than five months in the making, there was a noticeable lack of fanfare.

“The Social Democrats will join the next government,” SPD Acting Chair Olaf Scholz said. “The SPD did not make this decision lightly. It spent the last weeks in in-depth and transparent and open discussions over the coalition deal.”

Germany’s center-left Social Democrats had pledged to head back into opposition after poor election results in September. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc then failed to find an alternative partner to govern with, bringing the SPD back to the negotiating table.

This resulted in open rebellion, with the party’s youth league leader touring the country to plead members to vote ‘no.’


In the end, however, those members did not say nay, and cleared the final hurdle to a deal. But the rebels say they will fight on.

“We will be watching both sides of the government closely, and will try to assure that all the non-binding declarations of intent become concrete policies,” according to SPD Youth Leader Kevin Kuhnert. “We will demand that political debate and discourse finally return to this party and to society.”

Who will lead Germany for the next four years has finally been decided, but how they’ll lead remains to be seen.

Germany’s next government will now have to overcome divisions within the parties of the Grand Coalition and flesh out its policies. Any lack of clarity may only embolden opponents, including the Far Right Alternative for Germany, which is for the first time polling higher than the SPD.