January 21, 2018 / 4:16 PM / 4 months ago

German SPD votes to pursue coalition talks with Merkel

BONN (Reuters) - Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) voted on Sunday to begin formal coalition talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, moving Europe’s economic powerhouse one step closer to a stable government after months of political uncertainty.

Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD) leader Martin Schulz talks to a media during the SPD's one-day party congress in Bonn, Germany, January 21, 2018. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

SPD delegates voted by 362 ‘for’ to 279 ‘against’ to move ahead with negotiations after the centre-left party’s leaders agreed a preliminary coalition blueprint with Merkel’s conservative bloc earlier this month. There was one abstention.

Talks are now expected to start this week, bringing relief to Germany’s partners in Europe, where Merkel has long played a leading role in economic and security affairs. SPD party members still get to vote on a final coalition deal, if there is one.

Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Madeline Chambers

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