German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives on Monday approved a coalition deal with the Social Democrats (SPD), bringing closer a fourth term for her as well as an end to political limbo in Europe’s preeminent power. The more formidable hurdle to ending a five-month political impasse comes next week, however. On March 4, results of a binding postal vote by members of the centre-left SPD will be announced and they are far less certain. “Now I can only say to the SPD that I hope many members feel the same responsibility for giving Germany a good government,” Merkel said in an interview with broadcaster RTL. “I think we can achieve a lot together for Germany and its people.”
The vote at a CDU congress followed Merkel’s announcement of her picks for a new, younger cabinet intended to revive the party, which has been riven by disagreements over how to respond to the Alternative for Germany (AfD) since losing votes to the far-right party in national elections in September.
The CDU’s youth wing has called for the party to renew itself in the wake of its worst election result since 1949 in September and Merkel, 63, stressed in her speech to delegates at the CDU gathering that younger faces were in the new team.