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  New Conflict in Merkel’s Government Threatens Germany’s Role in Europe
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Last EditedBojicat  Dec 02, 2019 08:20am
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AuthorBojan Pancevski - Wall Street Journal
News DateMonday, December 2, 2019 02:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionBERLIN—Upheaval in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s junior coalition partner is likely to hinder the government’s work in coming months, threatening Germany’s prospects for retaking the Continent’s political leadership, politicians and experts warned.

With the center-left Social Democratic Party’s new co-chairs now openly hostile to maintaining the ruling alliance with Ms. Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union, the fractious government appears closer to a collapse than at any time since it took office last year.

But the complex process set up in the country’s constitution to replace a chancellor before a term ends—and the SPD’s reluctance to be seen as responsible for torpedoing the government and its leader—all but ensures any collapse will be a slow-motion one.

Ms. Merkel’s term ends in the fall of 2021. But the likelihood that she will serve its full course dropped precipitously on Saturday after two little-known politicians known to favor an end to the ruling alliance and a sharp leftward policy turn won the SPD leadership contest.

What will follow is, first, a period of negotiations as the reconfigured SPD—whose leadership needs to be confirmed at a party convention next weekend—seeks to extract a €500 billion ($550 billion) jump in infrastructure investment and welfare spending over 10 years, as well as tax overhauls and ambitious climate policies as the price of its remaining, something Ms. Merkel’s conservatives vowed to oppose on Sunday.
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