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December 06, 2013 AT 11:29 AM
More than one in three members of Germany's center-left Social Democrats (SPD) has already voted on a proposed coalition deal with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives, ensuring the internal party referendum will be valid. After a month of talks with the SPD, the two camps clinched a coalition agreement that includes a 185-page policy blueprint for a new government. Almost 200,000 members had submitted their postal ballot by Friday lunch time, according to a letter by SPD General Secretary Andrea Nahles seen by Reuters on Friday, easily beating the participation rate needed to make the vote count.