East Germany's Ruling Coalition Collapses

EAST GERMANY was expected to begin a crucial week of negotiations on reunification yesterday with only half a government and no clear position on when or how to complete its merger with West Germany. The country's ruling coalition fell apart Sunday when the Social Democrats (SPD) quit in response to the sacking of two of their ministers.

Party chairman Wolfgang Thierse said that his party was no longer able to work with Christian Democrat Prime Minister Lothar de Maizi`ere.

The five SPD ministers in the Cabinet were expected to resign yesterday.

The coalition's collapse was the culmination of weeks of bickering between parties jostling for position as the campaign for all-German elections Dec. 2 heats up.

Mr. de Maizi`ere said that he still had a majority in parliament and would continue to govern. He accused the SPD of running away from its responsibilities.

But he needs the SPD to reach the two-thirds majority required to approve an outstanding unity treaty with Bonn and to formalize accession to West Germany.

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