IN BRIEF: SPD backs red-green coalition

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The Independent Online
SPD backs red-green coalition

Bonn - Social Democrats in Germany's biggest state approved forming a coalition with the Greens which party leaders said could be the model for toppling Chancellor Helmut Kohl's national government in 1998.

Forced to find a partner after losing a 15-year majority in North Rhine- Westphalia, SPD delegates voted overwhelmingly to cast their lot in with the Greens, who had approved the pact a day earlier. Johannes Rau, Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia and an SPD stalwart, had to swallow his reservations and cut a deal with the ecologists, and vowed to stay on and lead the "red-green" coalition. Reut