Germany to start work on trade, China, Syria war - Merkel

Germany to start work on trade, China, Syria war - Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a statement a the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) headquarters in Berlin, Germany, March 5, 2018.

Members of Germany's Social Democratic Party have voted in favour of joining a coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative bloc.

Taking aim at the SPD's decision on Sunday to renew its partnership with Merkel, the AfD predicted that "the bill will come at the latest in 2021", when Germans are again due to go to the polls.

"I congratulate the SPD on this clear result and look forward to continuing to work together for the good of our country", she said on Twitter.

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Both Merkel's conservatives and the SPD are under pressure to appear distinctive to voters in a coalition borne out of necessity rather than choice, making it hard for Merkel to balance conflicting demands.

The newspaper Die Welt reported on Saturday that SPD member and Bundestag Vice President Thomas Opperman said the SPD should be more self-confident, cheeky and ready for conflict in the next coalition government. "We now have clarity". "Criticisms agai-nst the GroKo remain", he wrote. For solidarity in Germany and EU!'

Five months after an inconclusive election, and after the failure of Merkel's first attempt to form a government with two smaller parties, the long-serving chancellor's best hope of securing a fourth term lies with the SPD.

Merkel, who has proved herself a shrewd worldwide negotiator during more than 12 years in office, faced her greatest challenge at home after deciding to allow over a million asylum-seekers into Germany since 2015.

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A "No" from a membership that is wary of repeating the bruising experience of the past four years of "grand coalition" would pitch Germany into greater uncertainty at a time when the European Union is looking to its largest country for leadership on a host of economic and security issues.

Merkel also faces the challenge of easing tensions within her own conservative bloc, comprising her CDU party and their Christian Social Union (CSU) Bavaria-based partners. Spahn, 37, a former deputy to hardliner Wolfgang Schaeuble at the finance ministry, has repeatedly slammed Merkel's centrist policies, particularly on immigration. Immigration is expected to be a key issue in this fall's state election in Bavaria, where Merkel's allies fear the fallout from her open-door policies.

Kevin Kuehnert, head of the SPD's Jusos youth wing who campaigned for a "No" vote, is ready to call out any delay in implementing the hard-won coalition deal, which envisages eurozone reforms in partnership with France.

Asked last month if she saw Kramp-Karrenbauer as a possible successor, Merkel dodged the question, replying:"We have our hands full managing the business of the day".

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