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New German Coalition Ready to Rule

New German Coalition Ready to Rule

New German Coalition Ready to Rule

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel sealed a deal for a new center-right coalition government Saturday after weeks of negotiations.

Chancellor Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats and the pro-business Free Democrats agreed to a policy program that includes future tax cuts of about $36 billion.

The program is designed to boost economic growth to guide Germany out of recession. The new government says it also plans to reform health care and seek a withdrawal of all U.S. nuclear weapons deployed in Germany.

The agreement comes about a month after Chancellor Merkel won a second term in parliamentary elections and dropped her previous coalition partner, the center-left Social Democrats.

The Social Democrats suffered their worst election defeat in the September 27 vote since the end of World War Two, while the Free Democrats made a strong showing.

The leader of the Free Democrats, Guido Westerwelle, will be Germany's new foreign minister and vice chancellor.

Wolfgang Schaeuble, a veteran member of the Christian Democrats, will serve as finance minister.

The new coalition's goal to remove U.S. nuclear weapons remaining in Germany is likely to draw concerns from the U.S. and other NATO allies.

The U.S. based nuclear weapons in Europe during the Cold War, but many have since been removed. The U.S. has not said how many nuclear weapons remain in Germany.