Merkel: The new German government needs to quickly start its work

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has welcomed the coalition deal and says “it’s important that we start quickly with our work”.

Ms Merkel was speaking a day after the centre-left Social Democrats voted overwhelmingly to remain in a coalition with her conservative bloc, giving the chancellor the support needed to preserve her governing coalition and secure a fourth term as leader of Europe’s most powerful economy.

Parliament is expected to meet on March 14 to re-elect Ms Merkel as chancellor, ending the longest time Germany has been without a new government after elections in its post-war history.