Merkel promises Germany action on jobs and EU

Merkel promises Germany action on jobs and EU

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BERLIN: Angela Merkel has said it is important that a new government gets to work quickly after the longest period of coalition-building in post-war Germany.

She said she would work to secure jobs and prosperity, and promised to provide a strong voice for Germany in the EU.

The chancellor is set to form her fourth government after the opposition Social Democrats (SPD) voted in favour of another grand coalition on Sunday.

Two thirds of SPD members backed the deal, despite the threat of veto.

The SPD had been split between the party’s leadership, which backed joining the coalition, and its radical youth wing, which did not.

“Almost six months after the election, the people expect something to happen now,” Mrs Merkel said in a short statement on Monday.

“We see that… Europe faces challenges and that a strong voice from Germany, along with that of France and other member states, is necessary,” she added, pointing to issues including conflict in Syria and world trade.

High price

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has formally proposed Mrs Merkel as chancellor to the lower house of parliament.

She faces a range of challenges, including strong opposition from the nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD).

The anti-immigrant party entered the federal parliament for the first time in September with just over 12% of the vote and now makes up the largest opposition group.

The SPD suffered its worst ever election result and many blamed their coalition with Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) for that poor performance.

Mrs Merkel, who also did badly, losing 65 seats, had tried and failed to form an alliance with the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) and the Greens.

She was forced to pay a higher price for continuing the existing coalition – the new finance minister will be a Social Democrat.

The SPD will now decide who will fill the six ministerial roles it is entitled to before Mrs Merkel’s expected election by parliament on 14 March.__BBC

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