Monday, October 10, 2005

Big changes in Germany... maybe

After a long and exhausting battle, conservative leader Angela Merkel will soon take the helm in Germany... but the victory didn't come without a price:

A deal to resolve an inconclusive national election in Germany calls for Angela Merkel to succeed Gerhard Schröder as chancellor.

The agreement will end Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's seven years at the helm of the government; but it appeared to give his Social Democratic Party a majority of cabinet posts, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The deal ends weeks of deadlock and will finally lead to formal coalition talks between the two parties, the outcome of which will determine how fast and how far reforms will take place in Germany over coming years.

Merkel's union of Christian Democrats and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union won the most votes and, narrowly, the most seats in the Bundestag, or Parliament, in the Sept. 18 election that left both camps without a governing majority.

Details of which cabinet posts would go to which party were still being finalized early today, but officials said the Social Democrats were poised to get eight out of 14 ministries, including three of the most influential briefs: the foreign ministry, the finance ministry and the labor ministry.

Merkel's conservatives were likely to get the economy, interior and defense ministries.

Here are some of the reforms that had been proposed by Merkel:

She promised during the campaign to shake up Germany's welfare state, strip down its bureaucracy and repair relations with Washington, strained by Schroeder's vocal opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

I like it. However, it's going to be extremely diffucult to implement these changes with her party having to share power. Look at the U.S., for example. The Republican party over here is having a bear of a time sharing power with Democrats and what makes it all the more maddening is that they don't even HAVE to!

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