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Merkel's party, SPD finally reach coalition deal months after German election

From CBC - February 7, 2018

Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and Germany's main centre-left party have reached an agreement to form a new coalition government after a final session of negotiations that dragged on for 24 hours.

"We have a coalition agreement that means positive things for many, many citizens," Merkel's chief of staff, Peter Altmaier, said as he left the talks. "And now we all want to have a shower, because we have negotiated long and hard over the last few hours."

The deal between Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, its Bavaria-only sister party, the Christian Social Union, and the centre-left Social Democrats wo not bring an immediate end to the political limbo following Germany's Sept. 24 election.

The country has already broken its post-World War II record for the longest time from an election to the swearing-in of a new government.

A deal will be put to a ballot of the Social Democrats' more than 460,000 members, a process that will take a few weeks. Many members are skeptical after the party's disastrous election result, which followed four years of a "grand coalition" with the party serving as junior partner to Merkel's conservatives.

Still, another senior conservative expressed relief that a deal had finally been done. Alexander Dobrindt, the CSU's top federal lawmaker, said it had been time for negotiators to come out of their "trenches" and "we succeeded."

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