SNAP ANALYSIS: German SPD party members vote to join ‘grand coalition’ with Merkel’s conservatives

SPD members voted (66% vs exp 60%) to join another grand coalition in the 19th Bundestag, following 27/Sep federal election. Merkel to be sworn in for fourth term as Chancellor on 14/Mar. SPD nominations for ministerial positions to be announced on 12/Mar, SPD caretaker leader Olaf Scholz (centrist social democrat) looks set for finmin role. Grand coalition (CDU 200 seats, CSU 46 seats, SPD 153 seats) majority has slimmed (56% of seats available vs 71% at the 18th Bundestag); hard-right AfD now the largest opposition party (94 seats of the 709 available). Economy has remained stable since the election; immediate agenda focussed on strengthening EZ (with France) in the face of rising trade threats from US/China, an agenda that will be tested by both the extreme-right and left. (RANsquawk)