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German SPD, CDU-CSU Agree to Launch Long-Awaited Coalition Talks on Jan 7

© AP Photo / Christian Charisius/dpaSocial Demoratic Party top candidate for chancellor, Martin Schulz, speaks at the party's headquarters in Berlin, Germany, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017 one day after the parliament elections
Social Demoratic Party top candidate for chancellor, Martin Schulz, speaks at the party's headquarters in Berlin, Germany, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017 one day after the parliament elections - Sputnik International
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The alliance of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) have agreed with the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) to begin the first round of the coalition talks on January 7, the parties said in a joint statement.

"On January 7, 2018, we will begin the first round of the preliminary talks, with further discussions to take place from January 8 to 11, 2018, with the aim of presenting a report on January 12, 2018, that will be discussed by party committees and political [parliamentary] groups," the joint statement read, as quoted by the Focus newspaper.

Previously, on December 07, German Social Democratic Party (SPD) members voted overwhelmingly to allow their party's leadership to enter talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives (CDU/CSU, the alliance of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany and Christian Social Union) on forming a government.

Social Democratic Party (SPD) leader Martin Schulz gestures during an SPD party convention in Berlin, Germany, December 7, 2017 - Sputnik International
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Following the failure of talks between the CDU/CSU, the German Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the Greens, two weeks ago Schulz held talks with Merkel about the prospect of forming a government.

On November, 20 the German Free Democratic Party (FDP) announced its withdrawal from the coalition talks with the union of the CDU/CSU and the Greens (prospective 'Jamaica coalition'). The FDP withdrew from Jamaica coalition negotiations with the CDU/CSU alliance and the Greens, with the remaining parties only capable of forming a minority government. The SPD and CDU/CSU agreed to enter coalition talks, although the Social Democrats had initially refused to form the so-called Grand Coalition.

READ MORE: Germany's SPD Leader Schulz Calls for 'United States of Europe' by 2025

Germany held parliamentary elections on September 24. The CDU/CSU bloc won the election with 33 percent of the vote, or 246 seats in the parliament, however, failed to secure an absolute majority. The SPD came second with 20.5 percent of the vote and 153 seats. The Free Democratic Party (FDP) received 10.7 percent of the vote and 80 seats.

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