AFP, 12th JANUARY, 2018 - German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives reached a “breakthrough” deal Friday with the country’s second biggest party, the Social Democrats, toward building a new coalition government, sources close to the negotiators said.
After more than 24 hours of talks, party chiefs reached an in-principle deal to start formal coalition talks that could lead in the coming months to a new government for the biggest EU economy, the sources told AFP.
In the all-night talks in Berlin, the party chiefs -- Merkel of the Christian Democrats as well as Social Democrats (SPD) leader Martin Schulz and the head of Merkel’s Bavarian allies, Horst Seehofer -- and their negotiators hammered out a 28-page joint paper that will form the basis for the talks ahead.
Potential pitfalls remain, including votes by sceptical SPD delegates and later the labour party’s rank-and-file members that could yet give the thumbs down to another left-right “grand coalition”, the constellation that has ruled Germany for the past four years.
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