SPD members give go ahead for grand coalition

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The base of the SPD has decided: it voted by a large majority for the coalition agreement with the CDU/CSU. This clears the way for a new government led by Angela Merkel.

The way is clear for the next grand coalition led by Angela Merkel (CDU): the SPD members voted by a large majority for the SPD’s participation in the government.

In the members’ vote, 66 percent of the members voted for an alliance with the CDU and CSU – the support for the grand coalition was thus clearly higher than many had expected. 378,437 of the 463,723 voting members cast their votes, 14,943 votes were invalid. This corresponds to 78.39 percent of the valid votes. 239,604 members voted yes, 123,329 no. For the second time since 2013, the SPD had asked its members to vote on joining a coalition with the CDU/CSU.

The provisional SPD chairman Olaf Scholz said that the SPD had further grown together with the past discussions. The approval of about 66 percent gives strength for the upcoming process of renewal. According to Scholz, the critics of a new grand coalition with the CDU/CSU will actively participate in the renewal debate. The designated SPD leader Andrea Nahles also spoke of a good result. “I am glad that this has now happened,” she told the news agency Reuters.

According to Scholz, the SPD wants to send half female and half male ministers to a future government. In the coming days, they will take their time as planned to draw up the list of ministers. Some of the six department heads would already be in office, others would be new. Scholz himself is considered to have been appointed to the office of Finance Minister and Vice Chancellor. In addition, the SPD can occupy the important Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Labour/Social Affairs, among others.

Merkel congratulates the SPD

CDU Chairwoman and Chancellor Angela Merkel congratulated the SPD on the clear result of its membership vote. “I congratulate the SPD on this clear result and look forward to further cooperation for the good of our country,” she was quoted in a Twitter message from her party. “This is the only correct and responsible thing to do in this situation,” said the designated Minister of Agriculture and Deputy CDU leader Julia Klöckner. “Let’s get to work together.”

Former SPD leader Martin Schulz also welcomed the approval of the party base for the grand coalition. “I am glad about the result”, Schulz told the newspaper “Süddeutsche Zeitung”. “It can bring Germany and Europe forward and strengthen the SPD.

Kevin Kühnert, the chairman of the Young Socialists and decisive opponent of a new grand coalition, was disappointed with the outcome of the SPD membership decision. “The criticism of the grand colation stands.” Kühner twittered further: “The SPD must be more like it has been in recent weeks and less like it was in recent years. We Jusos (author’s note: youth organisation) will take care of that – no renewal of the SPD without us. Tomorrow it starts.”

JUSO-CHEF KÜHNERT: “We’ll keep our eyes on the government.”

Meanwhile, Brandenburg’s SPD state leader Dietmar Woidke called on his party to be united. “I am proud of the SPD vote,” Woidke said on Sunday. “Now all social democrats are called upon to work together for the success of the SPD in government.” The prime minister of Brandenburg was convinced that the coalition’s work would strengthen the SPD. “At the same time, we will succeed in renewing the SPD where necessary”.

Woidke had promoted the new edition of the grand coalition before the vote. “The coalition agreement contains arrangements that benefit Brandenburgers and all people in the East,” he said. “I expect that the East German perspective will be represented with East German life experience”, Woidke stressed.

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