Angela Merkel has exposed herself to criticism from her own party after she took a crucial step towards ending a four-month period of political uncertainty by reaching a coalition agreement at the cost of giving the centre-left Social Democrats a greater role in government.
Following a marathon of all-night dealmaking sessions and several missed deadlines, Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union on Wednesday agreed on the terms of a fresh deal with the SPD, whose supporters will now get a final say on the agreement through a membership vote.
But the prize of a renewed “grand coalition” is likely to come at the cost of ceding key ministries to her junior coalition partner.
The SPD leader, Martin Schulz, can be optimistic about rallying support for a new term in government after securing three influential trophy ministries. The draft coalition deal foresees the centre-left party filling the finance, foreign and labour ministries, as well as the roles for family, justice and the environment.
Schulz, who had ruled out playing a role in a Merkel government in the immediate aftermath of last year’s elections, is reportedly planning to hand his party leadership to the former labour minister Andrea Nahles and take charge of the foreign ministry himself.