German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged her Christian Democrats (CDU) on Monday to approve a coalition deal with the Social Democrats (SPD), a step that would bring her closer to a fourth term. The more formidable hurdle to ending a five-month political impasse in Europe’s largest economy comes next week, however. On March 4, results of a binding postal vote by members of the center-left SPD will be announced and they are far less certain. The CDU party congress follows 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 Monday’s CDU meeting that younger faces were in the new team.
She asked her party to vote in favor of the deal, which is expected to go through easily, as a poll showed support for both her conservative bloc – which also includes the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) – and the SPD rising.