Social Democrats in east reject proposed German coalition

German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a joint statement after the exploratory talks between Merkel's conservative bloc and the Social Democrats on forming a new German government in Berlin, Germany, Friday, Jan. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

BERLIN — Members of the center-left Social Democratic Party in Germany's Saxony-Anhalt state have voted against a proposed national-level coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel's bloc.

German news agency dpa reported that delegates at a party convention in the eastern state narrowly backed a motion by the youth wing on Saturday rejecting a renewal of the "grand coalition" that has governed Germany since 2013.

The Social Democrats' leadership hammered out a deal Friday with Merkel's Union bloc that will be put to members on Jan. 21.

Critics of continuing a coalition with Merkel's conservatives say the alliance has cost the Social Democrats substantial voter support and the party should instead seek to strengthen its profile by spending the next term in opposition.

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