Germany: After Tumultuous Week, Germany’s Politics Look to the Familiar | The New York Times

After a week of upheaval and uncertainty, Chancellor Angela Merkel turned to her old coalition partners in hopes of returning stability to Germany’s political scene by raising the prospect of giving the country the same government that has led since 2013. In an overture to the Social Democrats, Ms. Merkel, leader of the center-right Christian Democratic Union, moved away from her previous talk of possible new elections. Instead she welcomed the chance to accept an invitation from President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to sit down to talks, and pledged to work toward opening formal coalition negotiations as quickly as possible. “We need to create stability; the people expect that of us,” Ms. Merkel said on Monday after a meeting of her party’s leadership. “Consequently, we are ready to open talks with the Social Democrats.” She pledged that the talks would be conducted “honestly and of course with a view to their success.”

Germany: Merkel points to grand coalition with Social Democrats | Reuters

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday welcomed the prospect of talks on a “grand coalition” with her Social Democrat (SPD) rivals and defended the record of the previous such government, saying it had worked well. Merkel’s fourth term was cast into doubt when the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) walked out of three-way coalition talks with her conservative bloc and the Greens last Sunday, causing a political impasse in Europe’s biggest economy. But on Friday, the SPD reversed a previous decision and agreed to talk to Merkel, raising the possibilities of a new “grand coalition” which has ruled Germany for the last four years, or of a minority government.

Germany: Echoes of the Weimar Republic as German politicians lose knack of coalition-building | The Guardian

Danyal Bayaz has experienced many things during his first few weeks as a new MP, but boredom is not one of them. Two months after entering Germany’s parliament as a Green party candidate, Bayaz, 34, from Heidelberg, has watched rightwing politicians give each other standing ovations for Eurosceptic diatribes, leftwingers heckle the far right as racists and a former climate activist with dyed hair form unlikely alliances with Christian Democrats in tailored suits. Last week Bayaz saw the dramatic collapse of coalition talks that would have seen his Green colleagues catapulted into government and now faces the possibility that his seat may come up for grabs again in fresh elections next spring. “Right now I am not even sure if it’s worth me getting a loyalty card here,” he quips as he orders a cappuccino in the Bundestag’s canteen. For years, German politics were both mocked and admired for being too uneventful to the point of tedium. Only recently the lack of drama inside the reconstructed Reichstag’s circular plenary chamber led to calls for a more confrontational, Westminster-style approach. But as old geopolitical certainties have crumbled over the past 18 months, Berlin’s consensual, unexcitable style of policymaking has won new admirers.

Germany: Merkel prefers fresh elections over minority government | Deutsche Welle

German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced on Monday that she was ready to take her Christian Democratic (CDU) party into fresh elections after coalition talks with the Green party and pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) failed over the weekend. “I’m very skeptical,” about leading a minority government, Merkel told public broadcaster ZDF. The center-right politician said she was ready to lead Germany for four more years, but that she felt a majority government was necessary for stability in her country and Europe. Merkel’s statement does not necessarily mean Germany is headed for snap elections. First, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will approach other parties to see if a last-ditch coalition can be cobbled together.

Germany: Coalition talks collapse after deadlock on migration and energy | The Guardian

Exploratory talks to form Germany’s next coalition government collapsed shortly before midnight on Sunday when the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP) walked out of marathon negotiations. “The four discussion partners have no common vision for modernisation of the country or common basis of trust,” the FDP leader, Christian Lindner, announced after the four parties involved missed several self-prescribed deadlines to resolve differences on migration and energy policy. “It is better not to govern than to govern badly.” The euro slid in Asian trade overnight thanks to the uncertainty in Europe’s powerhouse nation. Against the yen, the euro was down 0.6% on the day to a two-month low and slipped 0.5% against the US dollar. It was down 0.43% against the pound at €1.125.

Iceland: Iceland heads to coalition talks after vote; Populists gain | Associated Press

Iceland’s ruling Independence Party took the largest share of the vote in the island nation’s parliamentary election but faces difficult negotiations to form a new government after populist candidates showed unexpected strength. A record eight parties won seats in Saturday’s vote as the 2008 global financial crisis continues to roil the island’s politics. Despite topping the poll, the Independence Party saw its support dip to 25 percent. The three-party governing coalition lost a total of 12 seats, leaving it 11 seats shy of a majority in parliament, known as the Althingi. The opposition Left Green Movement finished second with 17 percent, despite predictions it could win the election. “Everyone lost,” said political analyst Gunnar Smari Egilsson said. “The current opposition gained no seats while the ruling coalition lost 12 seats. Populists alone triumphed.”

New Zealand: ‘Kingmaker’ extends election limbo | AFP

New Zealanders’ agonising wait for a general election winner is set to enter a third week, as populist “kingmaker” Winston Peters on Thursday again delayed announcing who he was backing. The South Pacific nation has been in political limbo since the September 23 polls failed to deliver a clear majority for either conservative Prime Minister Bill English or his centre-left rival Jacinda Ardern. They both require Peters’ support to pass the 61 seats needed to form a government, but the 72-year-old has drawn out the negotiations as he seeks maximum advantage for his New Zealand First (NZF) party. Peters initially gave himself until Thursday to announce his decision but reneged on the pledge earlier this week.

New Zealand: Opposition says kingmaker Winston Peters won’t be Prime Minister | AFP

New Zealand opposition leader Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday (Oct 10) ruled out giving Winston Peters a stint as prime minister if she forms a government with the populist “kingmaker”. Ardern and her conservative rival Prime Minister Bill English are both in coalition talks with Peters, who holds the balance of power after the country’s Sept 23 election ended in a deadlock. There has been speculation that Peters could demand a year in the prime minister’s role as the price of his support, with some seeing it as the 72-year-old’s last chance for a shot at the top job.