Merkel to lead Germany in parties' power-sharing deal

WORLD DIGEST

World Digest

November 12, 2005|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

FRANKFURT -- Germany's two major political parties sealed an agreement yesterday to govern the country together under Angela Merkel, who would become the country's first female chancellor.

But after six weeks of grueling negotiations, which exposed fissures on both sides and necessitated deep compromises, the new government faced a murky future, shorn of the reformist zeal that many here believed is necessary to fix Germany's stagnant economy and stem its soaring unemployment.

"This can become a coalition of new possibilities," Merkel said after the conclusion of talks between her Christian Democratic Union and the Social Democratic Party of the departing chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder.

"We want to make more of Germany," said Merkel, a 51-year-old physicist from former East Germany.

The two parties finished in a virtual tie in the Sept. 19 federal elections, requiring delicate talks to work out the sharing of power.

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