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CDU and SPD form Thuringia state coalition

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The CDU's Christine Lieberknecht and the SPD's Christoph Matschie. Photo: DPA
16:47 CEST+02:00
The conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) and the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) have agreed to form a coalition state government in Thuringia after seven weeks of post-election wrangling, the two sides announced on Monday.

The CDU's Christine Lieberknecht, who will become the CDU's first female state premier on October 30, and the SPD's state leader Christoph Matschie made the announcement in Erfurt, saying that the coalition agreement would be officially presented on Wednesday.

Both sides in the eastern German state said they were pleased with the result. Lieberknecht called the negotiations leading up to the agreement “hard and fair,” but did not reveal any details.

Her party lost its absolute majority in a state vote in August, making its preferred coalition with the pro-business Free Democrats impossible. Shortly thereafter embattled CDU state premier Dieter Althaus resigned, clearing the way for the CDU-SPD coalition.

Matschie said the parties had reached a “fair compromise.” But some of the SPD state party members fought fiercely to avoid the so-called grand-coalition with the conservatives. Many preferred a so-called coalition with the Left party and the environmentalist Greens and Matschie has even received death threats in recent weeks.

The battle for the premier post had been the biggest stumbling block to a left-wing coalition in Thuringia, as Matschie had refused to accept anyone from The Left even though the socialists won more votes than the SPD.

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Knut Korschewsky, The Left's party boss in the state, called the SPD decision to keep the CDU in power earlier this month as “clearly betraying” the will of voters in the state and that the Social Democrats had let themselves be “bought” by the promises of the conservatives.

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