Germany's Christian Democrats approve coalition deal

# 15 January 2018 20:07 (UTC +04:00)

Germany's Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) have approved a tentative coalition deal with Social Democrats, and suggested beginning formal negotiations next week to swiftly form a “grand coalition” agreement, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Bavarian ally Christian Social Union (CSU) announced Monday the party’s executive board endorsed the preliminary coalition agreement reached last week.

CSU Secretary-General Andreas Scheuer told a news conference in Munich that they were now hoping to begin formal negotiations with Social Democrats next week.

“I believe that we owe this to our citizens,” he said, and called for swiftly concluding negotiations and build a coalition government.

The CSU’s sister party -- Christian Democratic Union (CDU) -- had approved the tentative coalition deal on Friday.

The Social Democratic Party (SPD) is scheduled to hold an extraordinary party conference on Jan. 21 to seek approval from its delegates for the preliminary agreement and enter into formal negotiations.

Ahead of the conference, several senior SPD politicians and local branches of the party criticized the tentative deal, and called for amendments in the document.

However, CSU’s Scheuer ruled out any amendment in the preliminary agreement.

“The concluding document of the exploratory talks is fixed,” he said, and dismissed any re-negotiation.

The leaders of the CDU/CSU bloc and the SPD agreed on a 28-page document on Friday, after their five-day long marathon talks, and outlined common positions in various policy areas, including migration, health insurance and tax cuts.

Jusos, the SPD youth-wing, strongly opposes a grand coalition, arguing that Sept 24. election results meant voters have rejected such a move.

Merkel’s CDU/CSU alliance emerged as the largest bloc in the parliament following the election, but they failed to secure an absolute majority.

The SPD suffered its worst result in decades but remained the second-largest party in parliament.

Many Social Democrats have blamed their poor showing on the "grand coalition" with Christian Democrats in the previous term.