Thursday, 14 December, 2017

Coalition with Merkel not automatic, all options open: Germany's SPD

Schulz conditions government pact with Merkel on eurozone reform German coalition talks: SPD not in a rush to partner up with Angela Merkel again
Erik Tate | 04 December, 2017, 01:08

It was their worst-ever election performance in post-war German history, and many Social Democrats blamed the compromises the party made as part of the grand coalition that has governed Germany for the past four years.

Schulz previously opposed a "grand coalition" with the CDU/CSU, arguing that the election result meant voters had rejected the option of another grand coalition between the SPD and the CDU/CSU.

Noting that his party and Merkel's bloc continue to govern as a caretaker government, he said "we have no time pressure" and would "not rule out any options".

Merkel this week said she hoped to talk with the Social Democrats "in a serious, engaged, honest way and obviously with the intention of success".

Merkel and Erdogan also spoke about the importance of cooperating against terror groups, including Kurdish rebels and agreed to increase discussions once a new German government is formed.

"The reports are plainly and simply wrong", said the SPD leader, Martin Schulz, after claims in the German newspaper Bild that the two parties had agreed to begin exploratory talks on a new coalition following a meeting with the German president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, on Thursday.

Chabahar phase one launched; India, Afghanistan can now skip Pakistan
Over a month ago, India had sent its first consignment of wheat to Afghanistan by sea through the Chabahar port in Iran. Shahid Beheshti Port will be regarded as a new development stage for the province, the President said.

"I can clearly deny the media report about me having given the green light for grand coalition negotiations".

If Merkel can't put together a coalition, the only options would be a minority government or a new election.

The unusually testy tone Schulz struck is a reflection of the differences between conservatives and Social Democrats not just over the policies of a possible grand coalition, but whether even to try to form one at all.

The SPD will hold a party congress in Berlin on December 7-9, where it is expected to debate its options. The FDP chose to withdraw the talks with the Greens, the CDU and the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), for a new coalition government after the September 24 federal elections.

In an interview with Der Spiegel magazine, Schulz said the SPD backed French President Emmanuel Macron's call for closer eurozone integration, including a new finance minister for the currency bloc - ideas that face resistance from conservatives.

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