Taking it from the top: CDU and SPD restart coalition talks

JULIEN WARNAND

(FILE) - A file picture dated 25 June 2015 shows then European Parliament President Martin Schulz (L) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) at the European heads of state and governments summit at the EU Council headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. Schulz on 29 January 2017 was officially nominated by the Social Democrats (SPD) party chair as SPD's as top candidate to take on Chancellor Merkel in German general elections in September 2017. He is scheduled to be elected as party chairman during a extraordinary party confention in March.

Taking it from the top: CDU and SPD restart coalition talks


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Talks for a third grand coalition are restarting in Germany between the Christian Democrats (CDU) and the Social Democrats (SPD).

Political parties have failed to reach an agreement for the formation of a government since September 2017. That is a record for Germany.

Chancellor Angela Merkel met last week with SPD leader Martin Schulz, following up on Sunday with a second meeting involving the leader of the conservative Bavarian sister party (CSU) Horst Seehofer. Negotiations for the three-party coalition started on Sunday involving thirteen delegates from each party.

Initially, the SPD made clear they did not want to form another grand coalition with the CDU, following a historically devastating defeat with 20,5%. Although the party is not keen to enter a politically costly coalition, SPD party officials are well aware that going to the polls could be equally if not more devastating.

In any event, Schultz has warned that any deal with the Christian Democrats must be approved by the party’s 440,000 members in an internal referendum. No one expects an agreement to be sealed before Easter.

 Angela Merkel initially turned to the Liberals (FDP) –the traditional partner of the Christian Democrats – and the Greens. However, FDP’s leader Christian Linder has changed the party’s profile, adopting a more Eurosceptic and xenophobic agenda, making an alliance programmatically impossible for the longest serving Chancellor in Germany.

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