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Germany's SPD elects new leftist leadership - raising doubts about future of ruling coalition

Germany's SPD elects new leftist leadership - raising doubts about future of ruling coalition
REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
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More trouble ahead for Germany's shaky ruling coalition as the Social Democrats (SPD) elect a new left-leaning leadership that wants to renegotiate the deal -- something Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives could refuse to comply with.

Running on a join ticket, Norbert Walter-Borjans and Saskia Esken promised to reunite the embattled SPD - and win back the voters it lost in recent years.

"We want to reach out to all, we want to reach both our hands out to all - to those who decided otherwise and supported the other team, even in the pre-election campaign," Esken said after the vote. "We know it, you all know it, now we have to stand together. Only together can we manage to make the SPD strong again, to stand credibly for a just future."

Coalition foundation

The Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU played down the threat the SPD's new direction could pose to the coalition -- saying it wants to work with the new SPD leadership.

"We want to rule Germany well," CDU Secretary-General Paul Ziemiak told reporters on Saturday. "We have created a foundation for this. And this internal decision of the SPD does not change anything on the foundation of the coalition."

Neither party wants a snap election -- as both have been losing support. But Esken has said she will recommend that the SPD leaves the coalition if conservative don't agree to their demands.

SPD delegates are set to approve the leadership at the party conference on December 6 and will also vote on the coalition.

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