German political parties reached an agreement Sunday evening on a coalition government that will bring an end to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s 13-year reign, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) said.
“This compromise defines a right path for our country,” a party official said in a press release.
The lead candidate in Germany’s national election last year, Martin Schulz, returned the CDU and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) to form a “grand coalition.” After weeks of unsuccessful negotiations with the conservatives and the far-left, pro-Europe Green Party, Schulz had suggested the two parties would stage a political comeback in the event that they reached an agreement.
Elections in the Christian Democratic Union and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), on Sept. 24 had weakened both parties but saw them expand their Bavarian pro-life sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU).
Still, Merkel’s decision to open Germany’s borders to hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees in 2015 contributed to her party’s loss in the September election. Her coalition partner, the Social Democrats, as well as the Greens, have all rejected her candidacy for a fourth term as chancellor.
Both parties agreed on Sunday to prioritize economic development at home and freedom of movement in Europe as they work together to create jobs and foster economic growth.
Merkel said that now the coalition talks would begin, and that she would see the coalition partners through until a handover has been reached.
The coalition agreement reached on Sunday is expected to be approved later on Sunday.