Merkel Set for Fourth Term

The Social Democratic Party of Germany has renewed coalition ties with the Christian Democrats, thus paving the way for Angela Merkel to ascend the Chancellorship of Germany for the fourth time. The postal ballot witnessed 66 percent vote for the coalition and 34 percent against it. This accord was reached after six months of hard political deadlock. About 460,000 SPD members were eligible to vote concerning the coalition deal reached in February by the two parties.

The success of Merkel

Merkel has helmed Germany, the largest economy in Europe, from 2005. In case she finishes her fourth term in power, Merkel would have headed Germany for 16 years. She will thus equal Helmut Kohl as Germany's longest leader.

Germany's new government could be installed by March end. The September 24 federal election witnessed both the political parties bleed huge quantity of votes. Merkel was thus left with only a few coalition options.

The emergence of far right and coalition

Things were not expected to turn out this way. The September 2017 election was supposed to result in a decisive win for Merkel's CDU. It was anticipated that she will easily win the chancellorship for the fourth time. Voters, however, had other plans. They voted against the present status quo. Both the SPD and the CDU barely had enough numbers on their side to be the top parties in Germany. The CDU and SPD suffered crippling losses. Millions of votes went to Alternative for Germany (AfD), an ultra-right nationalist party. AfD gained almost 13 percent of popular votes.

This surprise-result came after many months of tough negotiations as the CDU tried its best to form a coalition agreement. Things came to a head after coalition talks between Green Party, CDU, and liberal FDP or Free Democratic Party yielded nothing in November. It seemed that the only way out was what was being termed as “GroKo” or Grand Coalition. The latter was the sole multiparty option. A new GroKo was refused by Martin Schulz, the former SPD leader. He was, however, compelled to make new negotiations as prospects of fresh elections loomed. Schulz stepped down as many within his own party blamed him for the turmoil. The party is expected to elect Andrea Nahles as the maiden female leader of the party. Nahles once served as minister of social affairs and labor. Merkel, for now, will have to contend with dividing the ministerial portfolios within partners.

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