SDP vote could shake government coalition

Norbert Walter-Borjans and Saskia Esken.

Election of leftists’ duo Saskia Esken and Norbert Walter-Borjans as new leaders of Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) on Saturday casts doubt over Merkel coalition, news wires reported.

With 53.06% of the vote, they beat Vice Chancellor and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and Klara Geywitz, who declared they will support the winners.

Walter-Borjans, a former finance minister of North Rhine-Westphalia and Esken, a lawmaker in the Bundestag lower house of parliament, are committed to keep the SPD together again.

As strong opponents of the coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, the new SPD leaders want to renegotiate the coalition deal, insisting for minimum wage and more investment in infrastructure and climate protection.

A possible rift in the government coalition would lead to snap election or minority government.

Media cited Walter-Borjans, saying that the SPD would not ditch the coalition immediately and intends to see which policies could be done with Merkel’s party and which could not.

The general secretary of Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) commented that his party wanted to work with the new SPD leaders and that the parties already had a common basis to work on.

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