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Germany

State coalition agreement tips balance of power - also in national politics

Two months of political wrangling in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia have led to a coalition agreement for a minority government. It tips the power balance in the upper house of parliament in Berlin.

Hannelore Kraft

Kraft is set to become the state's next premier

Nearly two months after a general election in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Social Democrats and the Green party have sealed their coalition agreement to form a minority government.

Hannelore Kraft, head of the Social Democrats in the state, is expected to be elected as premier next week.

This will make her the first woman to hold the post in Germany's most populous state.

Following the election, the Social Democrats and the Greens are just one seat short of an absolute majority in the state assembly in Dusseldorf.

Coalition talks with the Christian Democrats and the Free Democrats failed.

The minority coalition in North Rhine-Westphalia will alter the political balance in the Bundesrat, Germany's upper house of parliament, making life more difficult for Chancellor Angela Merkel's government in Berlin.

Until now, Merkel's center-right coalition has held the majority both in parliament and in the upper house.

But the new government in North Rhine-Westphalia means that any bill that needs to pass the Bundesrat will require approval from the center-left opposition.

Author: Matt Zuvela (apn/dpa)
Editor: Chuck Penfold

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