Angela Merkel's conservatives and their Social Democrat (SPD) partners faced a chorus of scepticism yesterday as allies and opponents alike criticised a loveless coalition deal that some said showed the German chancellor's time was coming to an end.
The shotgun deal, reached in record time after Merkel earlier failed to form a coalition with two smaller parties, faces its first test when the SPD's restive membership vote next month on whether to ratify a deal many never wanted.
"This government could be captioned 'Won't last long'," wrote Kurt Kister, editor of the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.
Handing over the finance ministry shows the high price the conservatives had to pay to renew the 'grand coalition' with the SPD that has governed Germany since 2013, and secure Merkel's fourth term in office.
"Chancellor at any price," Bild wrote on its front page.
Under the coalition agreement, the SPD will retain control of the foreign, justice and labour ministries among others.
“We have kept our key promises from the election campaign," Merkel ally Julia Kloeckner told broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk.