Thursday 26 April 2018

'Painful' deal on coalition was correct one - Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, CDU, is flanked by Martin Schulz, chairman of the Social Democratic Party and Bavarian Governor Horst Seehofer, chairman of the Christian Social Union, during a press statement after Merkel's conservatives and Germany's main center-left party reached a deal to form a new coalition government. (AP Photo/Ferdinand Ostrop)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, CDU, is flanked by Martin Schulz, chairman of the Social Democratic Party and Bavarian Governor Horst Seehofer, chairman of the Christian Social Union, during a press statement after Merkel's conservatives and Germany's main center-left party reached a deal to form a new coalition government. (AP Photo/Ferdinand Ostrop)

Kirsten Grieshaber in Berlin

German Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed back yesterday against critics within her Christian Democratic Union party of the governing coalition deal reached with Germany's main centre-left party.

Ms Merkel's conservative bloc secured an agreement to form a new coalition government with the Social Democrats last Wednesday, ending months of political gridlock.

The chancellor acknowledged in an interview with ZDF public television that it "was painful" to hand the powerful finance ministry to the Social Democrats. "We sure did pay a price for a stable government," she said. But she added that it would have been "irresponsible" to allow the negotiations to collapse.

The deal to end Germany's four-month, post-election political impasse would see Ms Merkel's conservative party and its Bavaria-only sister party, the Christian Social Union, continue their "grand coalition" of the last four years with the centre-left Social Democratic Party.

The last major hurdle is winning approval from the Social Democrats' sceptical members, who will vote on the agreement.

The Social Democrats are widely viewed to have secured a good deal in the coalition negotiations, emerging with control of the powerful finance ministry, the foreign and labour ministries, and three other ministries it already led.

Several prominent members of Ms Merkel's party have criticised the chancellor in recent days for handing too many ministries to the Social Democrats.

Irish Independent

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