/Coalition settlement to be signed

Coalition settlement to be signed

Berlin (dpa) – The leaders of Germany’s conservative parties and Social Democrats (SPD) plan to officially sign their coalition government agreement on Monday.

The ceremony is scheduled for 2 pm (1300 GMT) in the Paul Loebe Building of the German government complex in the capital Berlin, dpa learned on Tuesday from leading figures within the parties.

The path was finally cleared for Chancellor Angela Merkel to revive the coalition of her Christian Democrats (CDU), her Bavarian-based allies the Christian Social Union (CSU) and the SPD after Social Democrat members voted to approve the deal on Sunday.

The 177-page document was provisionally agreed between Merkel, CSU leader Horst Seehofer and the then SPD leader Martin Schulz, but had to be approved by the three parties.

The so-called grand coalition has ruled Germany since 2013, but when all three parties lost out in September’s general election, the SPD initially decided to go into opposition and regroup.

A failed attempt to form a coalition with the free-market liberal FDP and environmentalist Greens persuaded the SPD to rethink its decision not to work again with Merkel.

Lawmakers are due to vote Merkel back in as chancellor on March 14, when she will also be sworn in.