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Merkel strikes power deal with Social Democrats for German coalition

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Feb. 7 (UPI) — After weeks of talks, German leader Angela Merkel reached an agreement Wednesday with the Social Democrat Party — which would structure the Berlin government and keeps the chancellor in office for four more years.

If approved, the agreement would give control of the foreign ministry, finance ministry, and the labor and social ministry to the party, which is led by former European Parliament president Martin Schulz.

Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, under the agreement, would gain the economy ministry while giving up the interior and finance spots.

Bavaria’s Christian Social Union, which is tougher on immigration than Merkel, would lead the interior ministry.

The deal needs approval by SPD’s membership to move forward.

Four years ago, the majority of the party’s rank and file were on board with joining Merkel’s government. The group’s mood eventually changed, though, and is now more divisive — with many members saying the Social Democrats would be better at rebuilding in opposition than joining Merkel again.

If the deal is not approved by the 460,000-plus SPD members, Merkel would need to either pursue a minority government dependent on opposition votes to pass legislation — or to return to the ballot for an election.

If approved, the deal could add four more years of power for Merkel, who has already served for more than 12 years as Germany’s leader.