Merkel struggles to avert coalition talks collapse

2017-11-19 20:23
German Chancellor and chair of the Christian Democratic party, CDU, Angela Merkel arrives for exploratory talks with the Free Democrats and the Greens in Berlin. (Soeren Stache, dpa via AP)

German Chancellor and chair of the Christian Democratic party, CDU, Angela Merkel arrives for exploratory talks with the Free Democrats and the Greens in Berlin. (Soeren Stache, dpa via AP)

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Berlin - Chancellor Angela Merkel was on Sunday struggling to prevent a collapse in high stakes coalition talks, which could force new elections and destabilise Germany and Europe.

Elections in September left the veteran leader weakened and without a majority as some of her party's voters turned to the far-right AfD, angered by her liberal refugee policy.

The disputed decision to let in more than a million asylum seekers since 2015 is also proving to be a stumbling block as she seeks an alliance with an unlikely group of parties spanning the left and right of the political spectrum.

Merkel's conservative CDU party and its Bavarian allies the CSU have been trying to find common ground with the pro-business FDP and the Greens.

Party chiefs had initially set a deadline on Sunday as the moment of truth, but the deadline went by without a breakthrough - the second overtime after already missing a previous target on Thursday.

Bild daily said on its website that "failure is in the air" while other German media were speculating that parties may call time-out to reflect on their options.

If talks collapse, Germany risks returning to the polls in 2018, as the centre-left Social Democratic Party has ruled out returning to a coalition with Merkel after suffering a humiliating loss at September's elections.


Read more on:    angela merkel  |  germany  |  elections

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