Merkel kicks off latest round of coalition talks with Social Democrats

Merkel kicks off latest round of coalition talks with Social Democrats

Today, embattled Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Christian Democrats (CDU) begin a new round of coalition talks with their former

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Julian Warnand/EFE

Today, embattled Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Christian Democrats (CDU) begin a new round of coalition talks with their former grand coalition partners, the Social Democrats (SPD), in an ongoing bid to form a government.

SPD leader Martin Schultz reluctantly agreed to talks in early December, but the party’s rank and file are far from convinced. Mr Schultz is wary of aligning too closely with Mrs Merkel’s party, as the SPD shed electoral support because of its tight relationship with the CDU.

Mrs Merkel seeks a coalition government to prevent new elections, which would only strengthen the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).

The CDU will need to give the pro-immigration SPD a big policy win, so Mr Schultz can sell the deal to his voters. Though this will likely not come in the form of laxer immigration laws, Chancellor Merkel might be willing to adopt the abolition of private health insurance and stricter climate protection laws, both major policy objectives of the SPD.

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