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Saturday, October 24, 1998 Published at 21:25 GMT 22:25 UK

World: Europe

Greens agree to coalition

Joschka Fischer and Jürgen Trittin say there will be no compromise

By Bonn Correspondent Caroline Wyatt

Germany's Green Party has agreed a coalition deal with the centre-left Social Democrats, paving the way for the new government to take office next Tuesday.

German Elections
At a special party conference in Bonn, an overwhelming majority of the Greens' grassroots members voted in favour of the pact, despite misgivings over some of the compromises made by the party leadership in order to gain power in Germany for the first time at national level.

On Sunday, the SPD will also vote on the pact, which paves the way for Germany's first left-of-centre government in 16 years, following the defeat of Chancellor Kohl in last month's election.

'No compromise'

In a passionate speech to members, the Greens' co-leader, Joschka Fischer, promised that the party would not compromise its ideals, even in government.

He said he too wished more progress had been made in some areas of the coalition deal with the Social Democrats.

The Greens failed to persuade Gerhard Schröder's SPD to loosen Germany's laws governing those seeking political asylum.

They also failed to push through heavy taxes on energy use.

However, Mr Fischer said the agreement to offer duel citizenship to foreigners who have made their home in Germany was long overdue and had been won through hard negotiation by the Greens.

Mr Fischer, who will be sworn into office as Germany's first Green foreign minister, received a standing ovation.

The future German environment minister, the Green co-leader Jürgen Trittin, said the coalition pledge to put an end to nuclear power in Germany was proof the Greens had not abandoned their principles.

Roar of approval

There was a roar of approval as delegates passed the coalition deal by an overwhelming majority after some 12 hours of lively debate.

Mr Schroeder's Social Democrats are also due to pass the agreement at a special conference this Sunday, which will pave the way for the first left-of-centre German government in 16 years.

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