Martin Schulz to step down as Social Democrat leader in Germany

German coalition talks drag on into third extra day

German coalition talks drag on into third extra day

It involves Mrs Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), its Bavaria sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU) and the Social Democrats (SPD).

The giveaway of key ministries is a sign of how desperately Mrs Merkel needed to strike a deal to prevent another election or leave her at the helm of a minority government, said analysts.

Ms Merkel, Europe's most experienced leader, has seen her standing at home and overseas weakened by the longest stretch of coalition-building in the country's postwar history.

Schulz had previously ruled out forming a coalition with Merkel's conservatives, saying that September's poll results - which saw the SPD recording its worst post-war election performance, at 20.5 percent - had "directed us to go into opposition".

Four years ago, the majority of the party's rank and file were on board with joining Merkel's government.

Mr Schulz said that pending members' approval he would "fight for the renewal" of the European Union as foreign minister. While Merkel has welcomed the idea of deeper integration among European Union states to raise the bloc's global profile, she has been noncommittal about ceding more financial control.

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Yet before addressing Europe's future, Schulz faces hard work at home.

The new coalition will put the far-right Alternative for Germany, the third-largest party in the German parliament, known as the Bundestag, in the opposition. Germany's highest court said Wednesday it had dismissed a series of complaints against the ballot. The party's youth wing vehemently opposes a repeat of that alliance.

Merkel has been running a caretaker government since late October.

Schulz's zigzag course has undermined his authority.

Merkel , in power for over 12 years, at first tried to cobble together a novel three-way coalition with the Greens and the liberal Free Democrats, but those efforts collapsed in November.

An "in principle" deal was agreed on Wednesday between Mrs Merkel's party and two others, setting her on the path to a fourth term.

Mohamed Salah vows to stay at Liverpool
I want to help the team to win trophies or be in a good position in the league, in my head I'm trying to do that. Ever since I was a kid, I had been a Liverpool fan, they were my favourite Premier League club.

Chancellor sacrifices finance ministry to clinch agreement.

"Puuuh! At least we've still got the chancellery", Olav Gutting, a CDU lawmaker in the Bundestag, wrote on Twitter.

Merkel defended the carve-up of ministries. She also noted that many conservatives will not be happy with the SPD taking over the finance ministry. "But we have important jobs".

"We live in turbulent times". CSU leader Horst Seehofer is also set to take control of a revamped homeland security ministry.

AfD leader Alice Weidel criticised the coalition's proposed immigration policy - which would see up to 220,000 asylum seekers given residency each year - and a scheme to encourage highly-qualified people to move to Germany. Co-leader Alexander Gauland criticized the deal, particularly the possibility of deeper European financial integration.

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