German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she’s determined to serve another full term, rebuffing party critics who say she sold out to the Social Democrats to extend her 12 years in office.
Faced with a backlash against last week’s coalition agreement and calls by some in her Christian Democratic Union to start thinking about a successor, Merkel defiantly brushed aside any suggestion of quick change in a prime-time ZDF television interview. She did say she planned to bring in some younger faces to her new cabinet.
More than four months into Germany’s longest party deadlock since World War II, the chancellor sought to look ahead to her next government and a return to stability. She urged the Social Democratic Party’s more than 460,000 members to clear the final obstacle by backing the coalition deal in a ballot concluding in early March.
“I ran for a four-year term,” said Merkel, 63, whose party won the most votes in Germany’s inconclusive election in September. “I promised those four years and I’m someone who keeps promises. I totally stand behind that decision.”
To read about the upheaval in the Social Democratic Party, click here.
Merkel’s need for a coalition partner and her CDU-led bloc’s decline to an almost 70-year low in September have held up her fourth term. That raised the prospect of a minority government or a repeat election that would risk strengthening the political extremes.
The Social Democrats used that leverage to pry the Finance Ministry from the CDU in the finale of a month of coalition talks on Wednesday, leaving Merkel to explain to her party why the junior partner wound up with key cabinet posts.
Giving finance to the Social Democrats is “acceptable” and “European policy will be formulated jointly” within the government, limiting the SPD’s ability to set the agenda, Merkel said in the interview Sunday.