Germany's Social Democrats (SPD) have voted decisively for another coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives, clearing the way for a new government in Europe's largest economy and ending months of political uncertainty. But it is surely the beginning of the end.
Angela Merkel has welcomed the decision by members of Germany's Social Democratic Party to support a coalition government with the long-time chancellor.
Angela Merkel has secured her fourth term as Germany's Chancellor, ending almost six months of uncertainty since the last election.
"Those who want to get rid of Merkel will try pull the party to right in order to recapture those voters who have defected to the nationalist, anti-immigrant AfD", he said.
Noting that it would be the biggest opposition party now that the SPD has joined the government, the AfD's parliamentary group leader Alice Weidel promised that "the bill will come at the latest in 2021".
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The decision ends nearly six months of uncertainty in German politics, the longest the country has been without a government in its postwar history.
Polls suggest Merkel retains a solid power base, with 52% of the general public and 85% of her bloc's supporters saying they favour her serving another term, according to an FG Wahlen poll for broadcaster ZDF published last week. It is widely expected that snap elections will not address the political crisis but only make the anti-EU far-right populist party Alternative fuer Deutschland (AfD) stronger.
The SPD - which had the final say on the coalition deal - has torn itself apart over the decision to renew the alliance.
She said; 'I congratulate the SPD on this clear result and look forward to continuing to work together for the good of our country'.
The Social Democrats were initially reluctant to extend their coalition with Merkel but eventually agreed to a deal that gives them control of the foreign, labor and finance ministries - three major portfolios - in return for supporting curbs on immigration.
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However, he added: 'The new government could be more important for Europe than for the domestic economy as without this agreement it would have been hard, if not impossible, to get any meaningful reform done in the coming months. The radical youth wing had opposed the coalition.
In a nod to the the abbreviation "GroKo" as the grand right-left coalition is known in Germany, European Commission vice president Frans Timmermans wrote on Twitter: "GroGO! The SPD needs to be more like it has been in recent weeks and less like it has been in recent years - the Jusos will ensure this", he tweeted.
"We now have clarity", interim Social Democratic chairman Olaf Scholz told reporters. Fewer Social Democrats approved the deal this time round than in 2013, when 76 per cent of members backed a government with Merkel.
"While the United States are starting a trade war and China is challenging our industrial leadership, we have been unnecessarily self-absorbed", engineering trade union VDMA's managing director Thilo Brodtmann said.
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