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Fresh talks begin on forming a “grand coalition” in Germany

Sunday, 7 January, 2018 - 21:56

Nearly two months after failing to form a government with the Liberal FDP and the Greens, the German Conservatives (CDU-CSU) began a new round of negotiations in Berlin on Sunday, this time with Social Democrats (SPD), hoping to form a “grand coalition.”

The negotiations will take place in two stages. The first, which will last until Friday, January 12, is the so-called “exploratory talks”: for six days, the representatives of the CDU-CSU and SPD – will meet in small groups to set discuss the main priorities of the next government. The second stage consisting of drafting the coalition agreement itself, will begin on Monday, January 22, the day after the of the SPD congress, during which the delegates of the party will be called to validate the results of the exploratory discussions.

For Angela Merkel, the success of these negotiations is imperative. Weakened by her party’s disappointing result in the parliamentary elections in which the CDU-CSU took 33% of the vote, the worst result obtained by the conservatives since 1949, then by the failure of the talks with the FDP and the Greens, the outgoing chancellor has every interest in forming a “grand coalition” with the SPD.

According to a YouGov poll for the DPA news agency, published on December 27, 47 percent of Germans want Merkel to leave the Chancellery before the end of her term in 2021, 11 points more than in October, with only 36% wishing to see her remain in power for another four years, down from 44 percent two months earlier.

For Martin Schulz, much is also at stake. After declaring, on election night, that he did not want his party to enter into coalition with the Conservatives again, the SPD president must now convince his base that he was right to change his mind at the end of November, after the failure of the so-called Jamaican coalition talks.



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