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Germany coalition talks: SPD backs talks with Merkel

January 21, 2018 4:29 pm

Germany’s centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) have voted for coalition negotiations with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, their former coalition partners.

Earlier this month the two groupings agreed a blueprint for formal talks.

Mrs Merkel’s centre-right CDU and its Bavarian CSU ally have been unable to form a government since September’s inconclusive election.

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The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) won 94 seats in parliament.

Initially the SPD ruled out governing with Mrs Merkel in charge again. But leader Martin Schulz changed his mind after CDU/CSU coalition talks with the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) and Greens broke down.

Merkel’s sigh of relief

Jenny Hill in Berlin

It’s fair to assume Angela Merkel permitted herself a sigh of relief this evening.

Nevertheless the poker face was on for the cameras as she gave a brief statement welcoming the Social Democrats’ decision to approve formal coalition talks. This is her last realistic shot at forming a government and avoiding fresh elections.

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