Berlin, March 4 : Germany will finally have a new government after the September 24 elections as the Social Democratic Party (SPD) on Sunday voted in favour of a coalition government with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Conservative Union, paving the way for her fourth term.
In the internal referendum of the 463,000 plus SPD members, over 66 per cent of ballots voted for “yes”, with a high participation rate of 78.39 per cent, Dietmar Nietan, head of the SPD Mandate and Counting Commission, announced at a press conference at the SPD Headquarters, Xinhua news agency reported.
“We will enter the coalition,” SPD acting party leader Olaf Scholz said. The Party has again united, and he has informed Merkel about the result, he added.
“I congratulate the SPD on this clear result and look forward to further cooperation for the benefit of our country,” the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) tweeted on behalf of Merkel later on Sunday.
As the chancellor candidate of the biggest party, Merkel is poised for the fourth time to be elected as the new chancellor in the March 14 plenary session of the Bundestag, or the Federal Parliament, and the new government will be formed accordingly.
The SPD’s approval ended the five-month political stalemate and cleared the way for Germany’s new government after the September 24 Federal Parliament elections, in which both of the two blocs suffered the worst turnovers since 1949.
The fragmented vote turnovers made the Union turn to the Free Democrats and the Greens to forge a majority in the Bundestag, but it failed in November after four weeks of discussion.
The Union then turned to its formation partner SPD, which changed its stance of entering into the opposition after the election under various political pressures.
The two blocs reached a 179-page coalition agreement document in early February, detailing the main issues such as policy orientations, spending and which party will name ministers in the new government.
The SPD’s “green light” is a sign to stabilize the European Union (EU) after the Brexit.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s ambitions to reform the EU cannot be achieved without efforts from Germany and a government in Berlin highlighting European policies.
Merkel also appreciates the importance of a future government for Europe. In her most recent government statement on European policy last week, she said: “We need a new start for Europe.”
The SPD members’ vote also helped Europe’s leading powerhouse avoid snap elections or an unstable minority government.
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.
However, the new “Grand Coalition” will also make the AfD the largest opposition party in the Bundestag.
The negotiation for government formation with the Union coincided with a decline in the SPD’s support rate. It has sunk to an all-time low in a survey by Emnid published on Saturday.