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.
Chancellor Angela Merkel struck a deal with Social Democrat (SPD) rivals on Friday to open government coalition talks, easing months of uncertainty that has undermined Germany’s global role and raised questions about her political future. But the deal to revive a “grand coalition” that has governed since 2013 must be approved by an SPD congress planned for January 21. Some members fear further association with Merkel’s chancellorship could erode the influence of the party which suffered the worst result in September’s election since the modern Federal Republic was founded in 1949. “We have felt since the elections that the world will not wait for us, and in particular…we are convinced we need a new call for Europe,” Merkel, who has played a central role tackling crises over the euro and refugees, said after exploratory talks that had run through the night.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel embarked Sunday on talks with the center-left Social Democrats on forming a new government, with leaders stressing the need for speed as they attempt to break an impasse more than three months after the country’s election. Leaders aim to decide by Friday whether there’s enough common ground to move on to formal coalition negotiations. Whatever the result, it will be a while yet before a new administration is in place to end what is already post-World War II Germany’s longest effort to put together a new government. Germany’s Sept. 24 election produced a parliamentary majority for only two plausible coalitions: the outgoing alliance of Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union and its Bavaria-only sister, the Christian Social Union, with the Social Democrats; or an untried combination of the conservatives, the pro-business Free Democrats and the left-leaning Greens.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, weakened by an election setback in September, launches a second bid to build a coalition government on Sunday when she sits down with the Social Democrats (SPD) for exploratory talks. A re-run of her ‘grand coalition’ with the SPD, in power from 2013 to 2017, appears the best option for conservative Merkel is as it would provide stability in what would be her fourth term. But with success far from guaranteed, there are a range of other possible scenarios. After her conservatives bled support to the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) in the Sept. 24 national election, Merkel saw her authority undermined two months later by the collapse of three-way coalition talks with the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) and Greens.
It was just before midnight on November 19 that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s dream of a so-called “Jamaica coalition” collapsed. The political constellation consisting of the conservative union parties (CDU/CSU), the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP) and the pro-environment Greens — whose colors together reflect those of the Caribbean country’s flag — was to not be. Christian Lindner, the FDP leader, stood up from the negotiating table in the Parliamentary Association building and declared that his party had had enough. The FDP could not support policies they didn’t believe in, he said. Outside, Lindner said a few words into the microphones, then vanished into the night.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the Social Democrats (SPD) have agreed to exploratory talks on forming a new government starting on Jan. 7, both parties said on Wednesday after informal discussions. The decision, 87 days after a national election that returned a fragmented parliament and complicated coalition arithmetic, brightens prospects for a renewal of the “grand coalition” that governed Germany over the past four years. A repeat coalition is Merkel’s best chance of securing a fourth term as chancellor after talks on forming a three-way alliance with two smaller parties broke down, leaving Europe’s largest economy in an unprecedented state of uncertainty. “It was a good discussion in a trusting atmosphere,” the parties said in a joint statement after leaders met on Wednesday. They agreed to hold four days of talks from Jan. 7, with the aim of deciding by Jan. 12 whether to open formal coalition negotiations.
So much for German efficiency. Ongoing attempts to form a new government after the country’s September 24 election are once again looking bleak. After the collapse of lengthy coalition talks between Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), its Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU), the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the environmental Green party, all hopes were put on resuscitating a grand coalition between the CDU and the Social Democratic Party (SPD). Now those hopes will have to be put on ice.
Wary of renewing a coalition with conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel, Germany’s Social Democrats are instead contemplating a so-called “cooperation” arrangement that would see them agree on a minimal program but leave contested matters up for debate. With talks on a new government starting on Wednesday, the “cooperation” suggestion is seen by some in the party as an answer to the dilemma of a centre-left party that fears sharing power with conservatives blurs its identity in voters’ minds. Social Democrat leader Martin Schulz said he would lead the SPD into opposition after a disastrous showing in September’s national election, but was forced to reconsider after Merkel’s attempts at forming a three-way government collapsed, leaving Europe’s economic powerhouse without a new government.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) say they hope to find clarity soon on prospects for a new ruling coalition as they gear up for exploratory talks this week. The conservatives, meeting on Monday to map out their negotiating positions, believe compromises can be reached to renew the “grand coalition” that governed for the past four years. The two blocs must overcome differences over the future of Europe, pensions, health care and education. Merkel, whose CDU/CSU alliance last month failed to cut a coalition deal with two smaller parties after an inconclusive national election in September, is due to brief the media at 1 pm (1200 GMT).
Germany: Merkel’s center-right party may be trying to form a government with the center-left. That could be a problem. | The Washington Post
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is trying to form a government, but her party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) does not have enough seats. She started negotiations with the leaders of three smaller parties, which broke down on Nov. 19. Currently there is a lot of discussion about a possible resumption of a “grand coalition” — between Merkel’s center-right party and the center-left — among the CDU, the CDU’s Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). The SPD was initially resistant to the idea, but is now coming around. Here’s what that means for German politics.