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Germany set for new government that will end Merkel’s reign

German Chancellor Angela Merkel looks on during a press conference at the Chancellery in Berlin, on August 10, 2021. (Christian Mang/Pool/AFP)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel looks on during a press conference at the Chancellery in Berlin, on August 10, 2021. (Christian Mang/Pool/AFP)

The three parties negotiating to form Germany’s next government will finalize and present their coalition agreement Wednesday, two of the prospective partners say. The deal paves the way for center-left leader Olaf Scholz to replace longtime Chancellor Angela Merkel in the coming weeks.

The center-left Social Democrats have been negotiating with the environmentalist Green party and the pro-business Free Democrats since narrowly winning a national election on September 26. The latter two parties said the agreement will be presented on Wednesday afternoon.

If party members sign off on it, the three-way alliance — which has never yet been tried in a national government — will replace the current “grand coalition” of the country’s traditional big parties. The Social Democrats have served as the junior partner to Merkel’s center-right Christian Democrats.

Merkel, who didn’t run for a fifth term, is expected to be succeeded by Scholz, 63, who has been her finance minister and vice chancellor since 2018.

The three would-be governing parties have said they hope parliament will elect Scholz as chancellor in the week beginning December 6. Before that can happen, the coalition deal requires approval from a ballot of the Greens’ roughly 125,000-strong membership and from conventions of the other two parties.

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