Merkel invites SPD to enter coalition talks: No option is off the table, Schulz stresses

Germany's chancellor stressed Germany needs a stable government to address domestic and international challenges

Merkel
EPA/Felipe Trueba

Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday invited the Social Democratic Party (SPD) for preliminary talks to form a conservative-left coalition government, a week after the collapse of talks between her Christian Democratic bloc (CDU/CSU), the pro-business FDP, and the Greens.

Speaking at a news conference in Berlin following a meeting of her party executive, Merkel stressed Germany needs a stable government to address domestic and international challenges.

“We are ready to enter into talks with the SPD’, she said, and underlined that they know these talks ‘require compromise” on both sides.

Merkel’s CDU/CSU failed to create a three-way government with the pro-business FDP and the Greens, after weeks of negotiations following the Sept. 24 federal election.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier last week invited leaders of the CDU, CSU, and SPD for a summit this Thursday to break the political deadlock.

Merkel
EPA/Felipe Trueba: Martin Schulz holds a press conference after SPD board meeting to discuss exploratory talks with CDU party

Social Democrat leader Martin Schulz told reporters on Monday that he will attend this summit and later consult with party’s executive board on Friday, before taking any further steps.

“No option is off the table”, he stressed, mentioning the SPD’s support for a CDU/CSU minority government or formation of a new ‘grand coalition’ as possible options.

Schulz promised that any agreement would eventually be voted on by party members.

The SPD leader previously opposed a coalition with the CDU/CSU, arguing that the election result meant voters had rejected the option of another grand coalition between the SPD and the CDU/CSU.

Merkel
EPA/Christian Bruna: German Chancellor Angela Merkel of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) talks to the leader of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) Martin Schulz

However, several leading Social Democrat politicians have supported a coalition or backing a minority CDU/CSU government.

Both the CDU/CSU and the SPD were severely weakened in September’s poll, and many in the SPD have blamed their poor showing on the party’s membership in the previous coalition.

Although Merkel’s bloc is still the biggest group in parliament, it needs the support of either the SPD, which has the second-largest group in parliament, or two smaller parties to form a government.

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