Three German parties have reached an agreement to form a new government to end the era of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to Olaf Schulz, who is preparing to replace her.
Schultz, of the centre-left Social Democrats, said he expected party members to bless the deal in the next 10 days.
At a press conference, Schultz and other leaders offered some pointers on how the coalition should be governed.
Among the first agreed measures: compulsory vaccinations in places where people at particular risk are cared for, with the option to expand this rule. It comes at a time when Germany is experiencing an increase in cases of the Covid-19 virus, and the political transition has hampered the country’s response to some extent.
Schulze also emphasized the importance of sovereign Europe, friendship with France and partnership with the United States as key pillars of the government’s foreign policy—continuing a long tradition after the war.
Schultz promised that the new government would not seek “the lowest common denominator, but policies of big effects.”
Meanwhile, Robert Habeck, co-leader of the Green Environment party, said the government’s planned actions would put Germany on the path to meeting the goals of the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
The Social Democrats have been negotiating with the pro-business Greens and Liberal Democrats since they narrowly won the national elections on September 26.
If party members agree, the tripartite alliance – which has not been tried before in a national government – would replace the current “grand coalition” of the country’s traditional large parties. The Social Democrats served as Merkel’s junior partner to the centre-right Christian Democrats.
Merkel, who has not run for a fifth term, is expected to succeed Schulz, 63, who has served as finance minister and vice chancellor since 2018.
There are still official steps to form a new government
The three potential ruling parties said they hope parliament will elect Schulz to the post of chancellor in the week beginning December 6. the other two parties.
News of the deal came as Merkel led what was likely to be the last cabinet meeting. Schulz presented a bouquet of flowers to the 67-year-old, who has led Germany since 2005.
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Negotiations on the alliance were harmonious and relatively fast compared to previous alliance talks. But the alliance is a potentially uneasy mixture because it brings together two traditionally left-leaning parties with one, the Liberal Democrats, which has tended to align itself with the center-right.
Few details emerged from the closed-door talks, including how the parties divided up portfolios.
An initial agreement last month suggested Germany would bring forward the deadline for ending coal-fueled power from 2038 to 2030, while expanding the deployment of renewable power generation.
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At the insistence of the Liberal Democrats, potential partners said they would not raise taxes or loosen restrictions on debt accumulation, making financing a central issue.
Merkel’s Christian Democrats are currently engaged in a leadership race over who will become their next leader and revive the party’s fortunes after suffering its worst-ever election result.