Germany: Angela Merkel rejects snap elections after failed talks

Saul Bowman
December 4, 2017

German Social Democrat (SPD) leader Martin Schulz said on Friday that his party broadly agreed it should not rule out any options for a new government and stressed that another conservative tie-up was not a foregone conclusion.

Schulz, Merkel and her Bavarian ally Horst Seehofer agreed to meet at Germany's presidential palace to explore the possibility of forming a so-called grand coalition like the one that makes up the outgoing government.

The FDP's departure has left Merkel's coalition with just 44 percent of parliamentary seats with new attempts to form a coalition, a minority government or a new election remaining the only options on the table.

The CDU leader also said talks with the Social Democratic Party (SPD) would have to be conducted on the basis of mutual respect, and the compromise is part of it.

Germany's new government is still in vacancy after the September 24 federal elections and the exploratory talks between the Union, the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the Greens broke down on the night of November 19.

"I can clearly deny the media report about me having given the green light for grand coalition negotiations. The way that erroneous reports are circulated destroys trust".

Merkel told the party conference that she wants to "come quickly to a government", adding that Germany must have a stable government, "but also a government that really advances the country". Schulz fronts a party which is split evenly down the middle on what he should do next.

Meantime, she continues to head a caretaker government made up of her conservatives and the Social Democrats.

After the party convention of the SPD in the coming week, the CDU will discuss the way forward, according to Klaus Schueler, federal manager of the CDU.

Another senior member of Merkel's Christian Democrat Union (CDU), Mike Mohring, said he was hopeful for an eventual grand coalition and expected a new government to be formed by March.

"Germany's European politics must change", Mr Schulz, a former president of the European parliament, told the magazine.

"Giving Emmanuel Macron a positive answer will be a key element in every negotiation with the SPD", Mr Schulz was quoted as saying in an interview on Friday.

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