September 2, 2014
BERLIN (AP) - Members of Germany's main center-left party have voted to go into government with Chancellor Angela Merkel, clearing the way for Merkel to start her third term at the head of a new coalition.
The ballot of the Social Democrats' nearly 475,000 members caps post-World War II Germany's longest effort to form a government. It sets the stage for Parliament to re-elect the conservative Merkel on Tuesday.
Senior Social Democrat Barbara Hendricks said Saturday that three-quarters of the members who voted approved entering a "grand coalition" government of right and left.
Merkel's conservatives won Sept. 22 elections but fell short of a majority and saw their previous pro-business coalition partners lose their parliamentary seats - forcing them to reach across the aisle for new allies.