Published: Sun, December 03, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Merkel allies try to appease fuming SPD ahead of German coalition talks

Merkel allies try to appease fuming SPD ahead of German coalition talks

Noting that his party and Ms Merkel's bloc continue to govern as a caretaker government, he said: "We have no time pressure" and would "not rule out any options". The SPD, which saw its participation in a Merkel-led coalition government from 2013-17 rewarded with its worst election result in German post-war history, had been strongly opposed to another "grand coalition".

The chairman said the SPD's executive committee would discuss various options on Monday, and make a proposal which would be discussed at SPD's party conference from December 7 to 9 in Berlin.

Speaking after Schulz's statement, CDU chief executive Klaus Schüler said his party respected what the SPD chairman had to say and would wait for the Social Democrats to make a decision about whether to officially pursue talks. "As before, I remain sceptical that you can do that by carrying on "business as usual" in a grand coalition".

However, Schulz did not slam the door for a renewed SPD-Union partnership, saying the SPD leadership was keeping its options open. Schulz fronts a party which is split evenly down the middle on what he should do next.

Although Merkel's bloc is still the biggest group in the parliament, it needs the support of either the SPD, which is the second largest group in Bundestag, or two smaller parties to form a government.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a press conference
German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a press conference

Merkel's camp said the ball was in the SPD's court. "The fact we underlined today that we are prepared to enter such talks with the SPD shows that we're aiming to bring these talks to a successful conclusion".

The youth branch of the SPD is organising a petition which rejects a third grand coalition under Merkel and advocates that the centre-left should tolerate a Christian Democrat minority government instead.

"The way for a grand coalition has been paved", Mohring told Reuters after taking part in a teleconference where Merkel had briefed the CDU federal board on Thursday night's talks with Schulz and the president.

In particular, he said he would demand German support for Emmanuel Macron's proposals for a Brussels-based finance minister and single budget for the Eurozone.

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