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German coalition hurt by scandal but won't break

Published on Feb 18, 2014 1:16 AM

BERLIN (REUTERS) - The fall of a conservative minister has poisoned the atmosphere in Germany's new left-right coalition, but party leaders made clear on Monday they would not let this derail the government at a sensitive moment for its reform programme.

Agriculture Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich's resignation prompted tit-for-tat calls for the Social Democrats, who share power in Chancellor Angela Merkel's "grand coalition", to offer up a scalp of their own.

However, analysts expect the coalition, which has a large parliamentary majority, to return to business as usual after a brief spell of shin-kicking between Dr Merkel's conservatives, its Bavarian sister party led by Horst Seehofer and the Social Democrats of Sigmar Gabriel.

"The scandal is detrimental to the atmosphere in the coalition and its image, and I think it's going to take a while for it to properly get back to work," said Dr Carsten Koschmieder, a political scientist at Berlin's Free University.

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