It looks like Europe’s largest economy finally has a new government after nearly six months of uncertainty and Chancellor Angela Merkel is getting a fourth term. It all happened thanks to the strong vote from the Social Democratic party (SPD) that agreed to another “grand coalition” government with the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU).
The vote marks a stark about-face considering Social Democratic leaders had vowed that they would not join a coalition with Merkel after the September election. But the members of the center-left party voted by a surprisingly large margin to join what has been popularly known as the loveless alliance.
Now Germany’s parliament is expected to meet on March 14 and re-elect Merkel, effectively ending what has been the country’s longest time without a government since World War II. Merkel said she was looking forward to “further cooperation for the good of our country.” European allies also celebrated, with French President Emmanuel Macron saying that the alliance “is good news for Europe.” Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel also cheered the news saying that the EU would finally be able to move forward on key priorities such as immigration and trade.
Even though the coalition is a clear victory for Merkel, she certainly has her work cut out for her as she tries to balance the disparate demands of what is clearly an uncomfortable alliance. But at the same time, the vote by the Social Democrats provides a clear “sign that the political center, while diminished, is holding after the longest coalition-building talks since World War II,” notes Bloomberg. Beyond domestic challenges Merkel will also be expected to take a lead role in dealing with President Donald Trump and his threat to impose tariffs on European cars.