Merkel holds meeting with SPD to end political impasse

Merkel holds meeting with SPD to end political impasse


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Chancellor Angela Merkel held her first meeting with Germany’s Social Democrats in her prolonged bid to forge a new government as a top politician warned that any talks between the two rival factions could last into February.

More than two months after Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union emerged victorious but weakened from a national election, she and her Bavarian ally met with SPD Chairman Martin Schulz at the presidential palace in Berlin for about two hours late Thursday. President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who last week warned against holding a new election, has demanded political parties stand by their obligation to voters after a complex multi-party negotiation collapsed in acrimony.

Meanwhile, a VW executive warned today Merkel that the political deadlock hurts busines. The head of Volkswagen’s truck operations has rapped the prolonged political deadlock in Europe’s largest economy as a risk for the commercial-vehicle industry and the country’s reputation abroad.

Ten weeks after the Sept. 24 federal elections, Germany still lacks a new government and Chancellor Angela Merkel is casting around for a coalition partner.

“Germany can afford itself many things, but not an unstable government,” VW Truck & Bus chief executive Andreas Renschler said on Friday at a truck industry conference. “We have a problem in Germany if we persist in that (instability). Our role in Europe but also in the world forbids that.”

“That’s why it is all the more important that we will get a stable government in Germany as fast as possible that sets the appropriate impulses for innovation and investment,” said Renschler, a former head of Daimler Trucks.

“Our appeal can only be to end the political deadlock as quickly as possible.”

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