SPD and CDU agree to govern state in coalition

18th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

18 April 2005, KIEL - Germany's two biggest parties, normally bitter rivals, agreed on Saturday to form a grand coalition to rule the country's northernmost state, Schleswig-Holstein, a Christian Democratic Union (CDU) spokesman said.

18 April 2005

KIEL - Germany's two biggest parties, normally bitter rivals, agreed on Saturday to form a grand coalition to rule the country's northernmost state, Schleswig-Holstein, a Christian Democratic Union (CDU) spokesman said.

The deal, reached two months after a hung election, means four out of Germany's 16 states will be ruled by the CDU in tandem with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats (SPD), with small groups of Greens or Liberals mounting the only opposition.

Party conferences will be called to approve the plan next week. Schleswig-Holstein state CDU leader Peter Harry Carstensen, a farmer, is expected to be elected state premier in Kiel on 27 April.

Outgoing Premier Heide Simonis tried in vain to form a minority government with the Greens, but was let down 17 March at her first vote of confidence. She then announced her retirement from politics.

At federal level, the parties are at daggers drawn, with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder accusing the CDU on Saturday of obstructing his reforms, while CDU leaders accused him of predictable carping.

The CDU has a majority in the federal upper house, representing the states, but the SPD and Greens have a majority in the lower house of the federal legislature.

DPA

Subject: German news

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