Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

WWI Centenary: the battle for Verdun

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

When big companies want to do good

Read more

FOCUS

Many Turks angry over Syrian refugee situation

Read more

ENCORE!

Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday : The Best of the Bard

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

The Tour de France, a PR machine

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Coverage of the third plane crash in one week - from France, Algeria and Burkina Faso

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Coverage of the plane crash that took 116 lives - almost half of them French

Read more

  • Live: ‘No survivors’ from Algerian plane crash, says Hollande

    Read more

  • In pictures: Debris and devastation at Air Algérie Flight AH5017 crash scene

    Read more

  • Paris bans new Gaza protest scheduled for Saturday

    Read more

  • Lithuania’s Navardauskas wins 19th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • French families grieve for Algerian plane crash victims

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • LA Times wipes France off the map in air crash infographic

    Read more

  • Tour de France fans bring the ambience to the Pyrenees

    Read more

  • Halal tourism on the rise

    Read more

  • French lawyer files complaint against Israel at ICC

    Read more

  • Ukraine names acting PM after Yatseniuk's shock resignation

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Wreckage of Algeria plane found in Mali

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    Read more

Europe

Merkel reaches coalition deal with Social Democrats

© Photo: AFP

Video by Jessica SALTZ

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-11-28

German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed to form a coalition government with the Social Democrats early on Wednesday morning, two months after her conservative party won elections but fell short of a full majority.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) made a breakthrough early on Wednesday and agreed to form a “grand coalition” government.

Germany’s two biggest political forces negotiated through the night and reached a breakthrough at about 5am (4am GMT).

Two months after Merkel’s election victory and a month after coalition talks began, the agreement, if ratified, would enable her to form a government by Christmas – if the SPD gets approval from its 474,000 party members.

The outcome of the rank-and-file postal ballot remains far from certain because many SPD members reject the notion of their traditionally blue-collar party again governing in the shadow of Merkel, as it last did 2005-09.

After that uneasy political marriage, the SPD scored two humiliating electoral defeats in a row and won less than 26% against the conservatives' nearly 42% in the September 22 ballot.

Key demands: minimum wage, dual nationality

SPD chief Sigmar Gabriel, who would be Merkel's vice chancellor, hopes to convince the base of his 150-year-old party with the key concessions his team has wrested from the conservatives in recent weeks.

To avoid giving the impression that SPD chieftains are worried only about gaining prestigious ministerial posts, they have focussed on policy and reportedly plan to stay silent on who would get which portfolio in the next Merkel cabinet.

In the protracted talks, the SPD scored a major victory on its core demand, a minimum wage of 8.50 euros ($11.50) per hour from early 2015.

The move aims to narrow a wealth gap brought about by decade-old labour reforms but should also cheer critics in the US, the IMF and Europe who want the export-power to stimulate domestic demand and correct its lopsided trade balance.

The SPD also pushed through a demand for a 30% women's quota on the boards of listed companies from 2016, and an easing of a ban on dual nationality, a key demand of Germany's large Turkish immigrant community, sources said.

Both sides also agreed on pension increases to protect retirees in rapidly ageing Germany, where many elderly are growing scared of suffering poverty in old age.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AFP)

 

Date created : 2013-11-27

  • GERMANY

    Merkel open to coalition talks with centre-left

    Read more

  • GERMANY

    Merkel triumphs in historic elections

    Read more

  • GERMANY

    Merkel hot favourite as Germans head to the polls

    Read more

COMMENT(S)