Germany welcomes govt deal, wants to start work quickly

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has welcomed the coalition deal and says, "It's important that we start quickly with our work."

Merkel was speaking Monday, a day after the center-left Social Democrats voted overwhelmingly to remain in a coalition with Merkel's conservative bloc, giving her 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 March 14 to re-elect Merkel as chancellor, ending the longest time Germany has been without a new government after elections in its postwar history.

The Social Democrats were initially reluctant to extend their coalition with Merkel, but eventually agreed to a deal that gives them control of the foreign, labor and finance ministries — three major portfolios — in return for supporting curbs on immigration.