Merkel mulls renewal of coalition with reluctant socialists

Edited by walterp on . Posted in Politics

Merkel said she will also hold talks with the Green Party and the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP).

Alternative for Germany (AfD) co-chair Frauke Petry will not join her party’s parliamentary party in the new Bundestag following months of feuding between her and the rest of the AfD leadership.

Leaders of Bavaria’s Christian Social Union (CSU) are set to discuss their party’s parliamentary union with Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU). On Sunday, the AfD won 12.6 percent of the national vote and will enter the Bundestag for the first time.

Merkel said she acknowledged that the far-right AfD rose to become Germany’s third largest party on the back of a campaign that centered on criticizing her and condemning her decision to let over a million refugees enter the country over the past two years.

However, she stressed that the AfD would have no influence on the future government’s policies. “The parties that are capable of forming coalitions with each other will seek solutions — there are of course differences … but AfD will have no influence,” she said.

On forming a new government, Merkel said she intends to hold coalition talks with the FDP, the Greens and the Social Democrats.

The SPD, however, has ruled out forming a second consecutive grand coalition with Merkel’s conservatives. That leaves the chancellor with little choice but to seek a three-way coalition with the business-friendly FDP and the traditionally left-leaning Greens, which would be unprecedented at the national level.

 Merkel said her CDU party has been analyzing how it lost more than 1.4 million voters to the FDP and just under a million voters to the AfD.

The chancellor said she took responsibility for Germany’s polarized political landscape but that she intends to win back those voters “through good politics.”

Merkel mulls coalition options

Germany’s Green party has said that its main condition for entering a ruling coalition would be to ensure that the country fulfills its obligations to the Paris climate accord. “We are aware of our responsibility and will conduct the talks accordingly: for climate, justice & Europe,” Green party co-leader Cem Özdemir said.

Özdemir (left) also refuted the FDP’s calls against deeper European integration, saying that the EU would not solve its economic woes through austerity policies and that Germany had a “vital interest” in French President Emmanuel Macron realizing his proposed European reforms.

FDP leader Christian Lindner has told reporters that he intends to lead his party in the new parliament, but gave little away over how talks were progressing on forming a so-called “Jamaica coalition” with the Union parties (CDU/CSU) and the Greens.

However, Lindner did reaffirm his pro-business party’s terms for going into such a coalition, while deputy leader Wolfgang Kubicki stressed that they would not go into coalition “at any price.”

Some of the FDP’s key terms include opposing any wealth tax, ruling out a ban on internal combustion engines and fostering an open market for technology companies. Lindner has also ruled at any cap on refugees entering Germany, putting his party at odds with CSU, a prospective partner within the Jamaica coalition.

On Europe, Lindner said that the eurozone’s “stability-oriented” policies must be resumed. Lindner once again vocally opposed any plans for a common eurozone budget that could be used to prop up indebted European states.

Lindner’s remarks could pour cold water over Merkel’s relationship with French President Emmanuel Macron, who has made a common budget for all 19 eurozone members the centerpiece of hisEuropean reform agenda. German election: who are the FDP?

The  Left Party, which came fifth with 9.2 percent of the vote on Sunday, has positioned itself as the main opposition force against the far-right AfD in the new Bundestag. Party leader Bernd Riexinger said on Monday that “the AfD must know that in us it will find its toughest opponents and that we will decisively oppose any nationalist and racist positions.”

Riexinger also indicated that his party would also reassess its social policies, admitting that the AfD had managed to exploit Germany’s social divisions in its favor.

Despite the Left Party making electoral gains in this year’s federal election, the FDP and AfD’s entry into the new parliament saw it lose its position as the main opposition party.

According to German news agency dpa, Seehofer said he did not imply that his party should break up its parliamentary group with the the CDU. However, he did reaffirm that the topic would be discussed among the CSU leadership.

In the event that the CSU does break away with the Merkel’s CDU, the chancellor would fail to fill enough parliamentary seats with Jamaica coalition and would likely have to call a new election


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