BERLIN (AP) – Germany’s pro-business Free Democrats on Sunday approved a deal to form a new government with two center-left parties, bringing Chancellor-designate Olaf Scholz closer to taking office as the country’s new leader this week .
Free Democrats come to an agreement last month to form a coalition with Scholz’s Social Democrats and Green Greens, effectively crossing the aisle to ally with the two parties.
“This is a coalition agreement for central politicians, which will not move our country to the left but wants to move it forward,” party leader Christian Lindner said at a widely supported party convention. line.
Delegates voted 535 to 37 to approve the deal, with eight abstentions. After the Social Democrats overwhelmingly supported him Saturday there is only one obstacle left before parliament can elect Scholz Wednesday. This is the result of a poll of the 125,000 members of the Greens, which is expected on Monday – the biggest challenge for the agreement but which it should succeed.
Germany’s new government aims to step up its efforts against climate change and do more to modernize the country, including improving its notoriously poor mobile phone and internet networks. It also provides for more liberal social policies, including legalizing the sale of recreational cannabis and easing the path to German citizenship, while pledging to redouble efforts to deport immigrants who fail to obtain legal status. ‘asylum.
At the insistence of the Free Democrats, the potential partners said they would not raise taxes or ease the debt brakes. Lindner is set to become Germany’s new finance minister, and the party will also get the ministries of Transport, Justice and Education.
The Free Democrats ruled West Germany as a junior partner of the Social Democrats under Chancellors Willy Brandt and Helmut Schmidt from 1969 to 1982. But since then they have largely allied themselves with the Union bloc center-right of outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel.
However, the Union’s electoral defeat in September and the ensuing unrest in the center-right bloc made the three-party alliance under Scholz a more realistic option.
Merkel, who has remained in office as acting chancellor while the new government was being negotiated, will step down this week after 16 years at the helm of Germany. She did not seek re-election. His party will now enter the opposition.
Follow AP’s coverage of Germany’s transition to a new government at https://apnews.com/hub/germany-election.