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Merkel, center-left reach deal on new German gov't

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[November 27, 2013]  BERLIN (AP) Chancellor Angela Merkel says her new government will stand for solid finances in Germany and continue to oppose a "debt union" in Europe.

Merkel's conservative Union bloc and their traditional center-left rivals, the Social Democrats, agreed Wednesday to form a "grand coalition" of Germany's biggest parties.

Merkel said after party leaders signed the deal that the coalition will stand for "solid finances, secure prosperity and social security." It will introduce a national minimum wage and raise pensions for some, but also is pledging not to raise taxes.

A potentially tricky hurdle remains before Merkel can be sworn in for a third term: the Social Democrats are putting the agreement to a ballot of their members. The result is expected Dec. 14.

[Associated Press]

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