The leader of Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) cited progress on Wednesday in efforts to win support for formal talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, and some colleagues said rejecting a coalition would dent party ratings. SPD members, who will vote on Sunday on whether to back talks, last week agreed to a coalition blueprint, which some however say does not bear enough of the party’s hallmarks and they would be better off in opposition. SPD leader Martin Schulz is criss-crossing the country to persuade delegates to give him a mandate to pursue formal coalition negotiations in the face of a strong backlash from the party’s left and youth wings.
Schulz said he was upbeat after a meeting with SPD members in the southern state of Bavaria on Wednesday, following stops this week in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), which will send about a quarter of the delegates to Sunday’s vote in Bonn.
“The mood was excellent,” he told reporters, saying discussions were lively but resulted in broad support for the blueprint.