German government coalition talks stall

 

German government coalition talks stall

By
Peter Schwarz

20 November 2017

After four weeks of talks, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Christian Social Union (CSU), Free Democratic Party (FDP) and Greens failed to reach agreement on a so-called Jamaica coalition by Thursday evening. German Chancellor and CDU leader Angela Merkel had set the November 16 date as the deadline for the conclusion of exploratory talks. Two months after the federal election, Germany remains without a new government, and it is entirely unclear when one will be established.

The negotiating teams separated early Friday morning after 15 hours of talks, having reached no agreement on any essential points in dispute. Several meetings of party committees organised to discuss the result were cancelled. The talks began again at midday on Friday, without a deadline for their conclusion being set.

The views on if and when an agreement will be reached diverge wildly. Deputy FDP leader Wolfgang Kubicki said, “We are so far apart on the issues in dispute—immigration, combatting climate change, finance policy, internal security—that I currently can’t imagine how we can come together in such a short time.”

“We are convinced that we can come together if we want to come together,” said CSU leader Horst Seehofer. He added, “We will do everything humanly possible to determine whether a stable government can be formed.” Green Party parliamentary leader Katrin Göring-Eckhardt proclaimed over Twitter, “We are ready to talk and hope there will be a result.” At the same time, she did not exclude the possibility that this would not be achievable.

If the talks fail, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will assume a decisive role. He has the task of presenting a candidate for the post of chancellor…

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