CDU approves German coalition deal with SPD, Merkel ally elected general secretary

Germany’s Christian Democrats (CDU) on Monday approved a coalition deal with the center-left Social Democrats (SPD). The move brings conservative leader Angela Merkel a step closer to a fourth term as chancellor, Reuters said. The CDU conference in Berlin follows Merkel’s announcement of her picks for a new, younger cabinet intended to rejuvenate the party. Christian Democrats also elected Merkel’s ally Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer as the party’s new general secretary, backing a centrist candidate. Kramp-Karrenbauer, until now premier of the small western state of Saarland, said she wanted to strengthen the CDU as a centrist people’s party.