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German parties to present coalition deal that will formally end Merkel era

Olaf Scholz, of the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) is widely expected to take the helm. Angela Merkel is stepping down after 16 years as Chancellor.

Scholz’s SPD, the Greens and pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) will reveal their coalition agreement in Berlin at 3:00 p.m local time (9:00 a.m ET), the FDP said in a statement earlier Wednesday.

One final round of negotiation talks is expected to take place Wednesday, ahead of a press conference later in the afternoon.

Once the deal is announced, it will go to members of the wider party for consideration.

This follows a close September election and two months of negotiations to form a new government.

The three coalition parties are not traditional bedfellows. The FDP is more usually aligned with the center-right, rather than the left-leaning SPD and Greens.

Until now, one sticking point in coalition talks has been funding for the Greens’ ambitious climate plans, with the Free Democrats opposed to raising taxes.

A new government will spell the end of the Merkel era, and consign her center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU) to opposition after 16 years in power.
The incoming Chancellor will take the helm of Europe’s largest economy at a time of increasing diplomatic uncertainty in the European Union, with the bloc facing aggression from Russia and Belarus, and threats to the rule of law from Poland and Hungary.

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