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December 09, 2013 AT 7:39 AM
Germany's Christian Democrats voted on Monday to approve a coalition with the arch-rival Social Democrats after Chancellor Angela Merkel urged her conservatives to swallow some of their misgivings and back the deal. Merkel won September's election but fell short of a majority and struck an agreement on November 27 for a "grand coalition" with the centre-left SPD. All 474,000 SPD members are now voting on it in a postal ballot whose results are expected this weekend. "It's taken us nearly three months to form a government and now it's time to get to work," Merkel told the 181 CDU delegates at a special party congress called to vote on the coalition deal.