Germany’s Merkel Faces Tough Coalition Talks

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Chancellor Angela Merkel’s triumphant center-right party is still considering who to team up with to form a new German coalition government after its election victory, reports the BBC.

While Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) won 41.5% of votes – its best result since 1994 – it fell short of a clear majority. And the election results were a shock for the CDU’s previous liberal partners, the Free Democrats (FDP), who failed to get any seats at all, the BBC reports.

A coalition with Germany’s second-largest party, the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), is seen as the most likely option – but deep divisions within the SPD emerged on Tuesday over the prospect of forging a grand coalition with Merkel’s party, the Financial Times reports. “It is not the job of the SPD to keep the CDU in office by providing it with a majority in order to enable it to carry on with its current policies,” Hannelore Kraft, state premier and party leader in North Rhine-Westphalia, told the Financial Times.

There is also speculation that the CDU might form a coalition with Germany’s environmentalist Green Party, reports the BBC. In spite of big policy disparities between the CDU and the Green Party, the resignation of two of the Green Party’s most prominent leaders on the left – and their subsequent parliamentary replacements this week – might make a CDU-Green agreement easier, the Financial Times reports.

A television poll in Germany of 1,000 people – conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday – found 48% prefer a coalition with the SPD, ahead of 18% support for a CDU-Green alliance, reported Fox News. The SPD is holding a convention on Friday to consider its next steps.

Meanwhile, the prospect of drawn-out coalition talks is deeply unsettling to E.U. officials working on crisis-fighting measures, reports the Financial Times. Germany plays a crucial role in E.U. negotiations and, without guidance from Berlin, E.U. officials are struggling to make headway on controversial reforms to ailing euro zone banks, the Financial Times adds.

[Financial Times]
[Fox News]
[Financial Times]