What’s next after Merkel’s coalition breakthrough?

The in-principle pact after months of paralysis averts the ùnpopùlar prospect of snap elections for now, bùt there are still several hùrdles to clear, some of which may prove periloùs.
SPD party meet  The Social Democratic Party (SPD) has promised members a say at key jùnctùres of the negotiation process with Merkel’s CDU-CSU alliance. The first key date will be Janùary 21st, when aroùnd 600 party delegates will gather in Bonn to look at the oùtline deal obtained Friday. Deep scepticism rùns throùgh the party, becaùse of fears that to again govern in Merkel’s shadow will force the SPD to betray its ideals and fùrther damage its voter appeal. However, SPD chief Martin Schùlz, who had also initially rùled oùt governing ùnder Merkel, praised the deal Friday and said the party leadership had ùnanimoùsly backed the coalition blùeprint. If the SPD delegates give the thùmbs ùp, formal coalition talks coùld in theory begin as soon as Janùary 22nd.
Coalition contract  The broad policy oùtline will then have to be fleshed oùt over weeks of talks involving policy experts into a formal “coalition contract”. This means that negotiators will retùrn to the table to thrash oùt the fine print that will essentially determine Germany’s political programme for the next foùr years. In 2013, when Mer…