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German Social Democrats launch make-or-break vote on coalition deal

By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Berlin (dpa) - The membership of Germany‘s centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) start sending in their ballots on Tuesday in a make-or-break vote on whether to go back into coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s conservative bloc.

It would be a major blow for Merkel if the SPD‘s members reject the coalition, with the veteran German leader then facing the option of forming a minority government or calling fresh elections.

Some 463,723 registered members of the SPD are eligible to vote on accepting or rejecting a revival of the centre-left and centre-right partnership that has governed Germany since 2013.

Members have until midnight (2300 GMT) on Friday March 2 to get their papers back to party HQ in Berlin, with a result expected on the same weekend.

A positive result is by no means certain as a very vocal campaign to reject the deal led by the party‘s youth wing has gained ground, amid accusations that the party leadership is out of touch with the grass roots.

The SPD has also seen its poll numbers plummet since September‘s election, when it achieved just 20.5 per cent, its worst result since 1949.

On Monday, an INSA poll for the daily Bild newspaper saw the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party overtake the SPD for the first time: The SPD is now languishing on 15.5 per cent compared to 16 for the AfD.

Germany has yet to form a new government after the inconclusive election last year.

An earlier attempt by Merkel to form a coalition with the liberals and Greens failed.


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