SPD Votes: No New Elections for Germany

Much of the talk leading up to the final tally was that the party was evenly split and that the vote could easily go either way, but it appears SPD Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks had the more accurate assessment when she came out on Thursday to say the vote would most like end with 60-percent in favor of joining the coalition agreement.

The Social Democratic Party (SPD) announced the formation of a "grand coalition" with German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Christian Social Union (CSU) on Sunday after SPD members voted by mail to join the CDU/CSU alliance.

Brinkhaus's comments underscored tensions between the centre-left SPD and the conservative blocs, which are both under pressure to differentiate themselves more in the next "grand coalition" after big losses in the September national election.

Senior conservative Jens Spahn, seen as one possible successor to Merkel, warned the SPD on Monday against obstructing government policy in a re-run of the coalition that has ruled since 2013. The SPD, by contrast, wants to allay people's insecurities with spending on welfare and education.

Angela Merkel, also referred to as "Muttie" (mother) Merkel is still a popular choice in her country.

The Social Democrats were initially reluctant to extend their coalition with Merkel but eventually agreed to a deal that gives them control of the foreign, labor and finance ministries - three major portfolios - in return for supporting curbs on immigration.

SPD secretary general Lars Klingbeil said his party wants the government, expected to be in place this month, to make social issues its top priority. The Party has again united together, and he has informed Chancellor Merkel by phone about the result, according to him.

Leader of key political and economic partner of Germany, France's President Emmanuel Macron has also praised the decision saying in a statement that "this is good news for Europe".

Kevin Kuehnert, head of the SPD's Jusos youth wing who campaigned for a "No" vote, is ready to call out any delay in implementing the hard-won coalition deal, which envisages eurozone reforms in partnership with France. "Criticisms agai-nst the GroKo remain", he wrote.

Had the long-time German leader faced a "no" result, she would have been left with only two realistic options: forming a minority government or seeking a new election.

  • Rogelio Becker