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Centre-left-led alliance seals deal on new German govt

Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, 63, will be chancellor

24 November, 17:58
(ANSA-AFP) - BERLIN, NOV 24 - A centre-left-led alliance of parties on Wednesday announced a deal to form Germany's new government, with rising coronavirus infections posing an immediate crisis for the post-Angela Merkel cabinet to put out.

Two months after the Social Democrats (SPD) beat Merkel's conservative CDU-CSU bloc in a general election, they concluded a roadmap on plans for Germany's next four years with the Greens and liberal Free Democrats that will install Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, 63, as chancellor. The relatively rapid accord is likely to be greeted with relief by international partners wary of a hamstrung Germany while crises from the global Covid emergency to Belarus and a weak economic recovery rage. Within Germany, voices have grown louder for the new coalition to take swift action to curb a surging fourth wave of the pandemic as hospital beds fill up and new infections soar to record highs day after day. In a sign of the emergency, Merkel, who is retiring from politics after four terms, summoned the leaders of the new coalition parties for talks over the rapidly deteriorating Covid situation midway during their last spurt of negotiations Tuesday. Scholz said his incoming government will set up a crisis team to fight the pandemic, and pledged to spend a billion euros ($1.12 billion) on bonuses for health workers in hospitals and care homes who have been on the frontlines of the crisis. (ANSA-AFP).

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