Angela Merkel has presented herself as Germany’s first woman Chancellor. She has confirmed that her Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats have reached a deal to form a coalition government. Cabinet posts will be equally split between the two parties, neither of whom won enough votes in recent elections to govern alone. Merkel was asked how she felt about her new role.
“Firstly, I am fine,” she responded. “Secondly, there is a lot of work to be done. I want to make something good out of what the voters handed us.” The deal comes after intense negotiations and breaks a political deadlock that arose from elections on September 18. Merkel said talks would now be held on the finer points of how the so-called grand coalition would work. She said she wanted to make sure there was trust, co-operation and new possibilities for Germany.
It is the first time that two main parties have joined forces in a coalition since the 1960s. It is still unclear what role the former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder might play in the new government. Sources in the Social Democrat party say he has decided not to take up a senior position. The party’s chairman, however, says Schroeder will have an active role in the future.
While not confirmed, German media reports that as part of the agreement the Social Democrats have already secured many top cabinet positions, including the foreign, finance, justice and labour ministries.