German president to discuss possible grand coalition with SPD’s Schulz

German president to discuss possible grand coalition with SPD’s Schulz

Today, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will meet Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Martin Schulz at Bellevue Palace. The meeting will

merkel hands

Photo: Armin Linnartzre

Today, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will meet Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Martin Schulz at Bellevue Palace. The meeting will serve as a last-ditch attempt to urge Schulz to reconsider his party’s refusal to form a “grand coalition” with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc.

Unable to form a government, Merkel favours new elections over forming a Greens-backed minority government, but recent polls suggest similar results to September’s vote. A new election would likely strengthen the far-right Alternative for Germany.

Despite initially ruling out becoming a “stop gap” for the conservatives, SPD parliamentary head Andrea Nahles stated that “no one” wants fresh elections. Nevertheless, Schulz will not budge, and fresh elections, whilst probable, won’t be possible until mid-2018.

Should President Steinmeier invite Ms Merkel to form a minority government, the chancellor would need to navigate garnering legislative support on a case-by-case basis, giving minor parties a larger profile. She would also be pressed to change some controversial policy stances, like immigration. Indeed, what happens today could have a profound impact on the future of Europe’s biggest economy.

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