Germany's Merkel set for challenges in her fourth term

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday she would work with France to tackle issues such as trade policy and the war in Syria after the Social Democrats (SPD) voted to join a coalition government with her conservatives.

The euro started the week on a solid footing as two-thirds of SPD members supported the coalition, clearing the way for a new government in Europe's largest economy after months of political uncertainty.

Al Jazeera's Dominic Kane reports from Berlin.

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Spahn, a member of Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) who does not shy away from criticising the chancellor, told the Deutschlandfunk public broadcaster: "The SPD must decide: either we rule together or some will try to play opposition within the government".

Now that Germany will finally have a proper government again - elections were originally held back in September - the real work can begin, and there are going to be some major changes.

The postal ballot realized that there was 34 percent against the grand coalition, and 66 percent in favor, Social Democratic Party treasurer Dietmar Nietan announce.

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"This was a really important democratic decision for our country", said acting Social Democrat leader Olaf Scholz, who is in line to become Germany's next finance minister and Merkel's deputy.

As the chancellor candidate of the biggest party, Merkel is poised for the fourth time to be elected as the new chancellor in the March 14 plenary session of the Bundestag, or the Federal Parliament, and the new government will be formed accordingly. In power since 2005, she has led Germany and the European Union through the financial and debt crises, but her waning authority at home could complicate efforts to deepen integration in the euro zone.

European partners waiting impatiently for post-war Germany to end its longest stretch of coalition haggling heaved a sigh of relief, with French President Emmanuel Macron calling the SPD decision "good news for Europe". Both sides had been weakened as voters angry about the arrival of more than a million asylum seekers in Germany since 2015 turned to the far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD). Meanwhile, Merkel's Bavarian partner CSU will formally agree the coalition Monday and name the three ministers it will send to Berlin including the transport minister. It also came after Martin Schulz was forced to hand over the reins as chief of the Social Democrat Party. The agreement was reached more than five months after Merkel's CDU/CSU party alliance won the majority in general elections.

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To her right, Merkel, 63, also faces pressures from her own camp. He has also advocated a sharp conservative shift in a bid to woo back voters from the AfD, which garnered almost 13 per cent in the September election. He is also widely seen as ambitious, with an eye on succeeding Merkel, though he says he supports her as chancellor for the full parliamentary period.

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