It’s hardly a secret that the Alternative for Germany party (known as the AfD in German) is a huge fan of Vladimir Putin. Unlike other German parties, the anti-immigrant group is prone to vocally endorsing the Russian president and his policies, both at home and abroad. And the appreciation is clearly mutual. But this time, the AfD’s cozying to Moscow may backfire. The German parliament has opened an administrative inquiry into a trip to Moscow that three leading AfD members took in early 2017, according to German media. Earlier this month, it emerged that an unidentified Russian sponsor paid for the private jet that flew them back to Berlin, footing a €25,400 bill. The AfD delegation was made up of then-party leader Frauke Petry, her husband Marcus Pretzell, who at the time was also a key party figure, and Julian Flak, a lawmaker in Saxony’s state parliament. Both Mr. Pretzell and Mr. Flak have confirmed the reports. However, they declined to say which person or organization paid for the trip.
Articles about voting issues in the Federal Republic of Germany.
Facebook said on Friday it would roll out a new feature designed to make political advertising more transparent in time for a key German regional election, as it seeks to restore trust after a massive data breach. The social network has been at the centre of controversy over suspected Russian manipulation of the 2016 U.S. presidential election via its platform, and the leak of personal data of 87 million users to a political consultancy that advised Donald Trump’s team. On Friday, a German data privacy regulator said it was opening non-compliance procedures against Facebook in relation to the data leak to the consultancy, Cambridge Analytica, that was exposed a month ago.
Germany said on Wednesday hackers had breached its government computer network with an isolated attack that had been brought under control and which security officials were investigating. A spokesman for the German Interior Ministry said the affected government agencies had taken appropriate measures to investigate the incident and protect data. “The attack was isolated and brought under control within the federal administration,” which oversees government computer networks, he said in a statement, adding that the authorities were addressing the incident“with high priority and significant resources”.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives on Monday approved a coalition deal with the Social Democrats (SPD), bringing closer a fourth term for her as well as an end to political limbo in Europe’s preeminent power. The more formidable hurdle to ending a five-month political impasse comes next week, however. On March 4, results of a binding postal vote by members of the centre-left SPD will be announced and they are far less certain. “Now I can only say to the SPD that I hope many members feel the same responsibility for giving Germany a good government,” Merkel said in an interview with broadcaster RTL. “I think we can achieve a lot together for Germany and its people.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged her Christian Democrats (CDU) on Monday to approve a coalition deal with the Social Democrats (SPD), a step that would bring her closer to a fourth term. The more formidable hurdle to ending a five-month political impasse in Europe’s largest economy comes next week, however. On March 4, results of a binding postal vote by members of the center-left SPD will be announced and they are far less certain. The CDU party congress follows Merkel’s announcement of her picks for a new, younger cabinet intended to revive the party, which has been riven by disagreements over how to respond to the Alternative for Germany (AfD) since losing votes to the far right party in national elections in September.
Members of Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) began voting on Tuesday on whether to enter a new coalition with Angela Merkel’s conservatives, a postal ballot which could scupper the chancellor’s chances of a fourth term in office. If the SPD’s nearly half a million members reject the deal, a new election or a minority government in Europe’s biggest economy is likely. Either would be a first for post-war Germany, now without a formal government for nearly five months. The result of the vote, which runs to March 2, is wide open and will be announced on March 4. That will be the same day Italy goes to the polls in a vote seen as too tough to call, as European politics splinter after years of austerity and waves of migrant arrivals from war-torn Syria and elsewhere.
Germany: Merkel passes major hurdle after party leaders agree on new coalition | The Washington Post
After a grueling all-night negotiating session, Germany’s two leading parties reached agreement Wednesday to once again form a governing coalition, after inconclusive elections in September left the country mired in political gridlock. The four months of wrangling and repeated failures to come up with a coalition have weakened Germany, and particularly Chancellor Angela Merkel, at a time when Europe is seeking a strong leader. The talks between Merkel’s bloc — an alliance of the Christian Democratic Union and the Christian Social Union — and the Social Democrats (SPD) extended past a self-imposed Sunday deadline and a two-day grace period into Wednesday morning, when party leaders finally overcame differences on key issues such as health care and labor policy.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was ready to make painful compromises to clinch a coalition deal with the Social Democrats (SPD), whose leader said Tuesday was “decision day” for negotiators after months of political uncertainty. Both blocs agreed late on Monday they needed more time to reach a deal on renewing their “grand coalition” and decided to resume talks at the headquarters of Merkel’s party on Tuesday. “Each of us will have to make painful compromises and I am ready for that,” Merkel told reporters. “When we see the movements on the stock markets over the last hours, we live in turbulent times and what is expected of us as popular parties … is that we form a government for the good of the people, one that brings stability,” she said.
The two largest parties have formally launched talks to form a new government after last year’s inconclusive elections. Party leaders were upbeat about the prospect of a “grand coalition” in the run-up to the talks. Formal coalitions talks between German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), their sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU) and the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) started on Friday. The talks are aimed at forming what is commonly referred to as a “grand coalition,” bringing together Germany’s two largest parties to form a government. Merkel was optimistic about the talks, saying: “People expect us to move towards forming a government and that’s why I’m very optimistic and very determined in these discussions that we reach a result and I believe that is achievable in a relatively manageable time frame.”
Germany’s Social Democrats plan to establish a cutoff date after which new members won’t be able to participate in a crucial upcoming vote on whether to join a new government, party officials said Wednesday. The move reflect growing annoyance among the party leadership about efforts by its youth wing to recruit new, short-term members in a bid to scuttle a coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Union bloc. The Young Socialists and the left wing of the party launched the campaign Monday offering two months’ membership for 10 euros ($12.25) and expressly urged new recruits to oppose a possible renewal of the “grand coalition.”