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Baden-Württemberg debuts Green-led coalition with Merkel's conservative party

Party officials in the German state of Baden-Württemberg have debuted Germany's first Green-led coalition with the CDU. The two unlikely partners have agreed on future plans for digitization and renewable energy.

Winfried Kretschmann, state premier for Baden-Württemberg,

presented the coalition agreement

between the Green party and the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) in Stuttgart on Monday.

The agreement,

which took weeks of "very hard" negotiations,

marks the first time in Germany's history that the center-left Green party has led a state parliament coalition alongside Angela Merkel's center-right CDU.

"We did not seek out this alliance," Kretschmann admitted, sporting an appropriately green and black-striped tie. "But the voters have decided in a different way, and now we are trying to be productive, creative and reasonable."

Chairman of the CDU's Baden-Württemberg faction, Thomas Strobl [pictured above (L) with Kretschmann] echoed Kretschmann's sentiments: "We weren't looking, but we found each other."

The agreement will now head back to the individual parties for approval before the Baden-Württemberg's parliament convenes on May 12.

'Kiwi coalition'

With lots of green and a few spots of CDU black, some have labeled the historic first Green-led state parliament the "Kiwi coalition."

Kretschmann also announced on Monday that both parties will each have five state cabinet positions with the Greens occupying the Finance, Environment and Energy, Transportation, and Social Affairs Ministries, as well as Science and Research.

The CDU will take over the state Interior, Justice, Economic, and Labor ministries. The Ministry for Agriculture will also belong to the CDU.

The line-up will be finalized by May 12, when Kretschmann is due to be inaugurated in the Stuttgart assembly.

Kretschmann, 68, and the Green party were re-elected on March 13 with 30.3 percent. For the first time in any German regional election,

the Greens emerged the strongest single party in the state.

In contrast, Strobl's CDU garnered only 27 percent.

Watch video 01:01

Greens win some, lose some

Policy plans

The two parties agreed upon a number of planned investments and issues. The coalition partners want to invest more than 200 million euros ($229.5 million) in a digitization strategy which includes provisions for comprehensive broadband access.

Around 500 million euros are planned for infrastructure improvements in universities, streets, and railways.

Over the next five years, the partners have also pledged to create 1,500 police department positions, as well as to upgrade their technical equipment.

Environmentally-friendly energy practices have also topped the list of agreed topics for both parties. Baden-Württemberg will continue to expand on renewable energy sources, especially in the wind energy sector.

rs/jm (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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