Merkel, SPD chief under renewed attack over German coalition deal

Merkel Rebuffs Party Critics Over Posts Forfeited In German Coalition

Merkel Rebuffs Party Critics Over Posts Forfeited In German Coalition

And members of the SPD could yet reject the coalition deal in a ballot whose results will be announced on March 4.

"It is clear to everyone that the chancellor is going into a last term", he told Deutschlandfunk radio, adding that she would "skillfully set in motion the succession in these four years".

If the Social Democrats' members do not vote to back the coalition deal and Germany is forced to hold a new election, Merkel said she does not rule out again seeking another term as chancellor.

Handing over the finance ministry - long the domain of Merkel lieutenant and fiscal hawk Wolfgang Schaeuble - "was one concession too many", fumed lawmaker Wolfgang Bosbach, reflecting a widely held view in theconservative party.

Mr. Merkel urged "we need to ensure that not only the over-60s are considered but also younger people". Now we need to show that we can start with a new team.

Germany has been without a proper government since an inconclusive election last September, which saw Merkel's conservatives and the center-left SPD both lose seats and a far-right party enter the Bundestag lower house for the first time.

Paul Ziemiak, leader of the conservatives' youth wing, welcomed Merkel's readiness to set out her picks for ministerial posts before a CDU party conference on February 26, but lamented the decision to give up the powerful finance ministry to the SPD.

The coalition agreement has been criticised by some conservatives who feel the next government will have an SPD-stamped agenda.

She rejected a suggestion that generous concessions to the SPD had weakened her position in the CDU, saying she had made a decision to cut a deal for the sake of Germany.

Some conservatives are unhappy with her decision to allow the SPD to spend a record budget surplus and to embrace their demands for European reform.

Social Democrat Olaf Scholz, who is expected to become finance minister, said on Saturday Germany should not dictate economic policies to its euro zone partners and that mistakes had been made in the past. Make a donation and help pay for our journalism.