Published: Tue, March 06, 2018
World News | By Laverne Osborne

Germany: US tariffs would hit workers, consumers

Germany: US tariffs would hit workers, consumers

It will be the third "grand coalition" between the Christian Democrats and Social Democrats since 2005 and will grant Merkel a fourth consecutive term as the chancellor.

Merkel is due to be re-elected by parliament as chancellor on March 14, said Volker Kauder, parliamentary chief of her CDU party.

Merkel was weakened by her decision in 2015 to welcome hundreds of thousands of people seeking asylum, which contributed to the rise of a far-right party that stole conservative voters.

Both Merkel's conservatives and the SPD are under pressure to appear distinctive to voters in a coalition borne out of necessity rather than choice, making it hard for Merkel to balance conflicting demands.

Although the SPD and the Christian Democrats both took a thrashing at the polls, it was the centre-left party that had the greater leverage going into the talks, particularly as it offered Merkel her only alternative to fresh elections and had previously resigned itself to a spell in opposition.

Merkel walks in to give a statement prior to a CDU leadership meeting at the party headquarters in Berlin.

Maoists, top cadre Hari Bhushan gunned down by police
Muchaki Lakhma had arrest warrants pending against him in Bhejji and Konta police stations, the official had said. He had joined police in undivided Andhra Pradesh in 2004 and joined the anti-Naxalite unit, Greyhounds in 2014.

SPD leaders, under pressure to revive their party after suffering their worst result in September's election since Germany became a federal republic in 1949, have vowed to fight the conservatives on major issues.

Senior conservative Jens Spahn, seen as one possible successor to Merkel, warned the SPD not to obstruct government policy in a re-run of the coalition that has ruled since 2013.

Two in three of the SPD's rank and file voting in a crunch referendum backed a new partnership with Merkel's conservatives, heralding an end to the political stalemate that has plagued Europe's biggest economy since September's inconclusive elections.

German government spokesman Steffen Seibert says such measures "would sorely affect worldwide trade flows", European industries and in particular "workers and consumers on both sides of the Atlantic". Opponents of her liberal refugee policy have grown more outspoken, while the conservative wing of her party is seething at having lost control of the powerful finance ministry to the Social Democrats as part of the coalition deal. But crucially, at a congress this week, her party also formally appointed its new general secretary, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, tapped by Merkel to kickstart the renewal process.

All that "requires us to begin work quickly in the government", she said.

Josef Joffe, publisher-editor of weekly Die Zeit, questioned whether Merkel would last out the full parliamentary term to 2021, "or whether she will be forced to hand over leadership to a younger CDU generation in two years".

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