Pressure mounts on SPD to ease German chaos

2017-11-22 21:13
Chancellor Angela Merkel. (Michael Sohn, AP)

Chancellor Angela Merkel. (Michael Sohn, AP)

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Berlin - Pressure mounted on Germany's Social Democrat leader Martin Schulz on Wednesday to reconsider an alliance with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and stop Europe's biggest economy from sinking into months of paralysis.

Schulz has repeatedly said the SPD would not return as the junior coalition partner in a government led by Merkel, after suffering a stinging defeat in September's general election.

Leaders of parties

But after Merkel's bid at forging a coalition with other parties fell apart, plunging Germany into a political crisis, voices within and outside the SPD have grown louder in questioning Schulz's decision and push for early elections.

President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who holds the power to call snap polls and who is himself a senior Social Democrat, has said that this "is the moment when all participants need to reconsider their attitude".

Steinmeier will meet Schulz on Thursday.

The president has already held talks with the leaders of parties in the failed coalition talks - the pro-business FDP - which halted the negotiations - and the ecologist Greens.

And he met the leader of Merkel's Bavarian allies the CSU on Wednesday.

As the crisis shows no signs of abating, the Sueddeutsche daily reported that "in the SPD, unease is growing over its clear refusal of a grand coalition.

"One must speak with the president openly, without already insisting on your own point of view," Johannes Kahrs, who leads the right-leaning wing of the SPD, told Bild daily.

Worse score

EU Budget Commissioner, Guenther Oettinger, also urged the SPD to reexamine its stance.

"With a view on Germany's ability to take action in Europe, the SPD should once again consider if it should not join a government," Oettinger, a CSU politician, told Spiegel weekly.

Schulz has declared that he was ready for a snap poll, but latest surveys show that an early election would likely deliver similar results to September's - and the risk of potentially getting a worse score than the record low 20.5% is something that SPD members fear.

Read more on:    angela merkel  |  germany

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