There is a government in Germany: The chairman of the Social Democratic Party, Olaf Schultz, today (Wednesday) reached an agreement in principle to form a government under his leadership that will officially end Chancellor Angela Merkel’s historic tenure.
The Social Democrats, who are affiliated with the center-left, have announced that they will present their tripartite agreement with the Green Party and the Free Democrats at a press conference this afternoon in Berlin, after two months of talks.
The agreement will elevate Germany’s first triple coalition government in Germany since the 1950s and end 16 years of a center-right government led by Merkel, in what is expected to be a new era in the country’s relations with Europe and the rest of the world.
The tripartite agreement – called the “traffic light coalition” after the colors of the three parties – means a majority in the lower house of parliament. The parties hope the government will be sworn in in early December after the parties ratify the coalition agreements.
The parties have rejected predictions that their coalition talks could continue until next year or fail completely. While the Greens and Social Democrats are seen as natural partners, the Free Democrats, identified with the economic right, have been closer to conservatives in the past.
Merkel did not seek re-election after four terms as chancellor. Her personal popularity ratings remain high, but her party is in disarray and facing a leadership contest after achieving its worst results in a federal vote following a tantalizing campaign of its candidate for chancellor.