October 10, 2005

German parties back “grand coalition” plan

BERLIN (Reuters) - Leaders of Germany's conservative and
Social Democrat (SPD) parties on Monday approved a coalition
plan that will see Christian Democrat Angela Merkel succeed
Gerhard Schroeder as chancellor, party officials said.

The executive board of Merkel's CDU party backed the deal
she negotiated with her ally Edmund Stoiber of the Christian
Social Union (CSU), SPD chairman Franz Muentefering and
Schroeder, a source at the board meeting told Reuters.

Earlier, the SPD executive also approved the coalition
plan, a party spokesman said.

"The board has approved the proposed agreement by a large
majority," he said.

Sources from both parties said earlier it was agreed Merkel
would head a coalition. The SPD would nominate ministers for
eight ministries, including those responsible for foreign,
financial and labor market affairs, SPD sources said.

The CSU, the CDU's Bavarian sister party, said its leaders
had also approved the plan and recommended detailed coalition
negotiations should get under way.