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Germany’s leading political parties on Sunday launched competitive rounds of exploratory coalition talks, aimed at winning potential political partners to form the next government, while Chancellor Angela Merkel’s 16 years at the helm end.
Both the Social Democrats, who won the largest share of the vote in last week’s controversial election, with about 25.7 percent of the ballot, and the Christian Democrats from Merkel, who achieved their worst election result with 24.1 percent, aim to third and fourth place — the Greens, with 14.8 percent of the vote, and the pro-business-free Democrats (FDP), with 11.5 percent.
The fact that there were less than two percentage points between the two leading parties led to both claiming the right to start investigative talks. However, in order to lead the next government in Europe’s largest economy, either the SPD or the conservative CDU will have to enter into an alliance with the two smaller parties. Most Greens prefer to join a coalition with the SPD, while the FDP has indicated that they prefer to work with the CDU.
The SPD negotiating team, led by Chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz, met the FDP team on Sunday afternoon and will meet the Green in the evening. The FDP will meet with CDU chancellor candidate Armin Laschet and his team on Sunday night, while the Green will speak to the Conservatives on Tuesday night.
Lars Klingbeil, the general secretary of the SPD, describes his bilateral talks with the FDP as ‘constructive and very professional’.
His FDP counterpart, Volker Wissing, said it was’ clear that there were some obstacles. But what is also clear is that we are determined to form a reform government that will move our country forward “.
It seems that a majority of Germans prefer a “traffic light” coalition – named after the red, yellow and green colors of the parties – led by the SPD with the Greens and FDP. On Friday, a poll showed that 51 percent of Germans prefer the ‘traffic light’, while only 18 percent support a CDU-led coalition.
Laschet maintained that his party also has the right to hold investigative talks, given the small difference between the results of the SPD and CDU – even though his party fell by 8.9 percentage points compared to the 2017 election.
A recording which was announced on Sunday indicates that his party’s popularity has fallen further since the vote, by three points to 21 percent. The SPD gained two points to reach 28 percent.
Following the indecisive outcome of last week’s election, the Greens and the FDP have changed the usual process of coalition investigations in Germany. on his head: They first started negotiating with each other and planned to continue the talks in the hope of reaching consensus on which party they wanted to govern. This could make them the kingmakers of the election.
“Both parties stand for change, but not necessarily the same form of change,” Green co-leader Robert Habeck said Friday.
FDP leader Christian Lindner hinted at growing impatience with the unrest in the Christian Democratic bloc, which consists of both the CDU and the Bavarian sister party, the CSU. Over the past week, CDU-CSU leaders have sent mixed signals about how much legitimacy they feel Laschet has in trying to form a coalition, highlighting the possible challenges he faces in leading a united CDU-CSU bloc underline.
‘Some of the CDU’s words suggest that negotiations with the SPD must first fail before the [CDU/CSU] come into play again, ”he told the German newspaper Bild. “We can not expect to do that. We are ready for serious talks with the [CDU/CSU] and hope for the same of them vice versa. ”
Many observers in Germany are worried that coalition talks could last for months, especially given the complexity of the outcome. But leaders of the four main parties all expressed optimism over the weekend that a new coalition could be formed by December. After Germany’s election in 2017, the negotiations lasted six months.