BLOOMBERG: German Social Democrats Back Merkel Coalition Talks in Tight Vote

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(BLOOMBERG) — Germany’s Social Democrats backed formal coalition talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel after a divisive party convention, marking a potential breakthrough toward her fourth term and an easing of political uncertainty in Europe’s biggest economy.

A narrow majority of the 600 SPD delegates gathered in Bonn voted in favour of negotiations to renew the “grand coalition” with Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union-led bloc. The ballot followed pleas by party and labour leaders to move forward with a joint policy outline reached on Jan. 12, rather than walk away from government.

“If we can achieve something good for people in this country, if we can achieve something good for the peoples of Europe, then we should do it,” SPD Chairman Martin Schulz said in his closing appeal before the ballot. “I think this is the more courageous path to take.”

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