Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Germany's centre-left backs formal coalition talks with Merkel

Außerordentlicher SPD-Parteitag SPD-Fraktionsvorsitzende im Bundestag Andrea Nahles Germany's centre-left backs formal coalition talks with Merkel
Charlie Simmons | 22 January, 2018, 02:43

Following last week's preliminary deal agreement, the Social Democratic Party will vote Sunday as to whether it should pursue coalition talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats.

On 21 January, members of the German Social Democrats (SPD) will vote on whether to move to the next stage of talks over the formation of a grand coalition between the SPD and Angela Merkel's CDU/CSU. But after being badly mauled, Martin Schulz made a decision to lead the opposition parties in parliament.

He said: "Europe is waiting for a Germany that knows its responsibility for Europe and can act decisively". "I think this is the more courageous path to take".

In a note Thursday, Morgan Stanley's European FX team wrote that Sunday's vote is the "key potential near-term risk" for unwinding the recent upward run for the euro.

Interviews by Reuters with more than a dozen party lawmakers indicate that the coalition talks have brought pressure from Merkel's party for new faces to be included in the next cabinet and prompted early conversations on a succession plan. After the elections, he fundamentally opposed a new grand coalition and rejected the prospect of becoming a member of a new Merkel government.

A Forsa survey this week found that 61 percent of SPD voters were in favour of moving on to formal coalition talks.

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Martin Schulz's SPD party will vote on whether to back Merkel's CDU on Sunday. "This is achievable for the improvement of the lives of people in Germany and in Europe".

In a speech in September, days after the German election, the French president had said he wanted to work on a new treaty. SPD delegates must decide if it's a sufficient basis on which to forge a common platform for government, even though many of them blame the party's role as Merkel's junior partner over the past four years for its electoral decline to a post-World War II low.

Germany's federal parliament is comprised of 598 seats, and a party must reach a 5 percent of the vote threshold in order to send a representative to Berlin.

After four months of political horse trading, Germany appears to be close to forming a new government, but with things humming along, it begs the question: Does the EU's most powerful player actually need someone in charge? Particularly the youth wing of the party, the "Young Socialists" or "Jusos", have voiced vehement opposition to the notion of a new "grand coalition", fearing that their party could completely lose its individual profile and ability to govern alone.

Andrea Roemmele, professor for communication in politics at Hertie School of Governance, said the close result was hard for Schulz, who led the party to its worst election result last September since Germany became a federal republic in 1949.

He vowed never to form another coalition and said the SPD's best chance for future success was to rebuild its base in opposition. Merkel - whose public image has suffered amid the gridlock - has not said whether she would lead her party in another campaign, and CDU lieutenants say they are not sure what she would do. Merkel, whose CDU was a weak first-place finisher in the September vote, initially tried to forge a so-called "Jamaica coalition" with the business friendly Free Democrats and the pro-environment Greens.

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