Germany's Merkel makes coalition government deal

Dec. 14, 2013 at 2:50 PM

BERLIN, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Germany's two largest political parties will enter into a grand bargain coalition government with Chancellor Angela Merkel still at the helm, officials said.

Merkel's Christian Democrat party, CDU, dominated elections held in the fall but fell just shy of an outright majority in Germany's parliament. The party's traditional governing partner, the Free Democrats, won no seats, forcing Merkel to seek out a new governing partner.

She found one in the nation's Social Democrats and party members voted overwhelmingly to enter into a coalition government. As part of the power-sharing agreement, Merkel agreed to raising the nation's minimum wage to $11.55 per hour in 2015, the BBC reported Saturday.

Under the coalition agreement it's likely Germany's all-important Finance Ministry will remain under the control of the CDU's Wolfgang Schaeuble, a controversial figure in the European Union for his tough bargaining during German-backed bailouts of the EU's debt-riddled member states.

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