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Germany: Crunch coalition talks for Merkel and rivals

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Germany: Crunch coalition talks for Merkel and rivals


A long night lies ahead for Angela Merkel, with the final round of talks to form a coalition government in Germany.

The priority for protesters, who gathered to greet negotiators in Berlin, was a demand for more direct democracy via referendums. One man even stripped to his boxer shirts to get the message across.

It is not the only issue on which the Chancellor’s conservatives and her Social Democrat or SPD potential partners fail to see eye to eye.

Pensions policies and public spending are among other sticking points. While the SPD looks to have got its way on a national minimum wage, full details of the measure are far from clear.

SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel faces a battle closer to home, needing to convince his grassroots to support the deal. Many though are wary after the party suffered in Merkel’s shadow in a previous “grand coalition”.

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