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Critics of Merkel coalition win German SPD leadership vote

BERLIN (Reuters) - Two sharp opponents of the coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives won a vote for the leadership of Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) on Saturday, raising questions over the future of the government.

The SPD said Norbert Walter-Borjans and his running mate Saskia Esken won about 53% of the vote by members. They have said they want to renegotiate the coalition deal to focus more on social justice and investment.

Their rivals, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, who ran on a joint ticket with Klara Geywitz from eastern Germany, won about 45%. A party conference next week is expected to approve members’ choice.

Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Thomas Seythal