On Wednesday morning, after 24 hours of nonstop negotiations, Germany's center-left Social Democrats (SDP) announced they have reached a deal to form a government with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party and its Bavarian sister party. Germany's government has been in limbo since an inconclusive Sept. 24 election, and after Merkel's talks to form a government with two smaller parties crumbled in November, SDP leader Martin Schulz reversed course and entered negotiations to once more form a governing coalition with the CDU.
According to Germany's dpa news agency, the agreement gives the Social Democrats control of the foreign, labor, and finance ministries, the finance minister being an especially big pickup. The proposed coalition will now go to a vote by the SDP's 460,000 members, and approval isn't guaranteed. The SDP had a terrible showing in the September election, and many party members blame that on its previous "grand coalition" with Merkel's government. If the deal falls apart, Merkel will have to lead a minority government or call new elections.