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Angela Merkel's conservatives reach a coalition deal with the Social Democrats

Angela Merkel's conservatives reach a coalition deal with the Social Democrats

However, millions across Germany and Europe will need more convincing about Mrs Merkel's pledges after her CDU party was forced to make huge concessions to their europhile coalition partners, including handing over the crucial finance ministry.

Members of Germany's Social Democratic Party will be able to have their say on the coalition deal that the party struck with Angela Merkel's conservatives Wednesday, the country's Constitutional Court ruled.

But commentators have already dubbed the tie-up a "coalition of losers" after both parties slumped to their worst results in decades in the polls, while the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) took almost 13 percent of the vote.

In her first public comments since the deal, Mrs Merkel said many conservatives would not be happy with the handover of the ministry to the SPD.

Mrs Merkel's Christian Democrats will get the Economy and Defence ministries while their Bavarian allies, the Christian Social Union, will provide the interior minister in the form of Mr Horst Seehofer, who talks tough on migration.

Negotiators from Merkel's CDU/CSU bloc and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) will continue talking late into the night before adjourning and resuming on Tuesday morning, party sources told AFP.

German news agency DPA also reported that the SPD's Olaf Scholz, now mayor of Hamburg, is to become the finance minister.

Germany's draft coalition deal includes a goal of ending use of the weed-killer glyphosate within the country but gives no time frame, after Berlin swung a vote in November extending its use across the European Union.

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Observers expect the referendum to be tight, with the SPD's left and youth wings fiercely opposed to another four years governing in Merkel's shadow.

SPD has gained the top three ministries - Foreign, Finance and Labor and Social Welfare - in the new German coalition, dpa later reported.

"We support fair taxation of large companies, in particular Internet concerns like Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon", according to a brief passage in their 177-page coalition pact published on Wednesday.

The referendum will be held by postal ballot, with the result expected to be announced in early March.

After more than 24 hours of talks at the CDU's headquarters, Merkel headed home for a few hours rest before a planned press conference to outline details of the deal.

The parties had seen their popularity drop after being in coalition on and off since 2005.

On defence spending too, both sides remained at odds as the finish line neared with the conservatives more open than the SPD to raising military spending closer to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation targets, as pushed for by US President Donald Trump.

Many Social Democrats argue that being in a coalition with Ms. Merkel is moving their party to the right and eroding its identity, and that entering a new coalition would leave Alternative for Germany as the leading voice of opposition.

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