Friday 03 April, 2020

First meetings in Germany as Merkel seeks untried coalition

News Desk
Published: 28 September 2017 Thursday, 05:03  AM

First meetings in Germany as Merkel seeks untried coalition

Bonn, 28 September ( Germany`s political parties were holding the first meetings on Tuesday since an election that left Chancellor Angela Merkel`s conservative political bloc weakened and is forcing it to attempt an untried alliance with two smaller centrist parties.


Merkel`s Christian Democratic Party (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), fell to a historic low of 32.9 per cent in Sunday`s elections. The figure was rounded down from 33 per cent on Tuesday by the electoral commissioner.


Their coalition partner, the Social Democrats (SPD), dropped to 20.5 per cent of the vote and promptly vowed to go into opposition, meaning that the most plausible coalition is between the CDU, the environmentalist Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP).


Coalition-building will be "difficult like never before," Edmund Stoiber, a former Bavarian prime minister and CSU leader, told the Tagesspiegel newspaper.


There are "fundamental differences on homeland security and refugee policy" between the CSU and the Greens, Stoiber said, but "there is no other option than to hold talks with the FDP and the Greens about forming a government."


Volker Bouffier, the deputy head of the CDU, said that a three-way coalition would only be possible if his party, "the strongest by far, is the deciding element and if the other parties are aware that they cannot be the deciders."


The election result has also reignited a debate about disagreements between the CDU and the CSU, whose traditionally dominant position in Bavaria was usurped by the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) on Sunday.


The CSU demanded an annual cap of 200,000 on the number of asylum seekers entering Germany after Bavaria bore the brunt of the refugee influx in 2015 and 2016 due to its location on the country`s southern border.


Merkel`s CDU refuses to grant any such cap, which could complicate already-tense coalition talks.