0918 GMT January 19, 2018
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc and the Social Democrats ultimately reached a preliminary agreement in their exploratory talks on forming a new “grand coalition” aimed at bringing an end to the political deadlock that has gripped the European nation since inconclusive elections in September.
The deal came in marathon talks between the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) led by Merkel, the CDU’s Bavarian sister party; and the Social Democrats (SPD).
The parties thrashed out a 28-page blueprint for a possible “GroKo” grand coalition government recommending that they hold formal coalition talks.
An optimistic view shows that Germany will see a coalition government in April.
The deal between Germany’s major parties is mainly focused on the issue of refugees and taxes.
Under the draft coalition deal, Merkel’s party agreed that Germany will limit the number of asylum seeker arrivals to around 200,000 annually.
The sides also agreed to keep the top tax rate at 42 percent rather than raising it to 45 percent as wanted by the Social Democrats.
Meanwhile, the parties have partially managed to settle their differences over environmental problems and financial aid to jobless people.
Merkel, who has been Germany’s chancellor since 2005, is preparing to arrive at a final deal with the Social Democrats to form a new coalition.
Nonetheless, an important question has eclipsed Germany’s political atmosphere: What would be the prospect of Germany’s government?
Presently, Germany is forming coalition governments instead of a single-party government. This comes as the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) entered the Bundestag as the third largest party as it took over 13 percent of the national vote in the general election on September 24.
It remains unclear whether the achievement of the far-right party will leave a decisive effect on the German political landscape in the future.
Hossein Ziaee is a journalist based in Germany