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Germany’s Social Democratic Party Congress overshadowed by grand coalition prospects

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A balloon with the logo of SPD is seen as Schulz, top candidate of the SPD for the upcoming federal election, gives a speech in Abensberg

Photo: Reuters/Michael Dalder

After 74 days of political gridlock, SPD members will discuss a revival of Angela Merkel’s grand coalition today.

Party leader Martin Schulz had previously ruled out a coalition renewal after September’s general election saw the SPD poll only 20.5%— its worst performance since 1949. With only a third of party members supporting a coalition, consensus had been that a shift into opposition could act as platform to rebuild its support base.

Following the collapse of ‘Jamaica’ coalition negotiations, pressure has mounted at home and abroad for the SDP to reconsider its position. A meeting with President Frank-Walter Steinmeier—a former SPD leader—has seen Schulz soften his language, opening the doors for discussion at today’s conference.

An announcement isn’t due until Monday, but, should party hardliners prevail, expect the SDP to forgo coalition talks in favour of working with a minority government.  Regardless, the SDP will look to leverage its position as a key decision maker to raise the refugee cap and reduce taxes on lower income earners.

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