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German Chancellor Merkel Strikes Deal For New Coalition Government

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

All right. This morning, meet the new German government. It is the same as the old German government. Chancellor Angela Merkel, her conservatives and center-left allies ended a 15-week-long political crisis and struck a deal to form a government. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson has more on this from Berlin.

SORAYA SARHADDI NELSON, BYLINE: Merkel looked exhausted after a marathon 24-hour final session to clench the deal for a new governing coalition.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL: (Foreign language spoken).

NELSON: She said she wasn't sure until the very end that the deal would happen and lauded the negotiators for persevering. Without a deal, Germany would've faced new elections. But no one, not even the negotiators, is thrilled about having the same governing coalition that ended up costing its members the worst election showing in history last fall. Horst Seehofer of the conservative CSU party in Bavaria says he and the other coalition partners now get what the German public wants.

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HORST SEEHOFER: (Foreign language spoken).

NELSON: He promised sweeping changes that will create more opportunities and benefits for all Germans. A 28-page deal is also set to cap asylum seekers coming to Germany for the first time at no more than 220,000 per year, which is something the conservatives have been demanding. The new governing coalition still has to be approved by members of each of the three parties. Details of the new government, including who gets what cabinet posts, still need to be hammered out. That means the new German government isn't likely to take office before April. Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, NPR News, Berlin.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRECIOUS FATHERS' "BRAD QUINN, MEDICINE MAN") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Special correspondent Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is based in Berlin. Her reports can be heard on NPR's award-winning programs, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and read at NPR.org. From 2012 until 2018 Nelson was NPR's bureau chief in Berlin. She won the ICFJ 2017 Excellence in International Reporting Award for her work in Central and Eastern Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Afghanistan.
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