x
Breaking News
0

Merkel fourth term in doubt as German coalition talks fail

GlobalNov 20, 2017 16:47
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
© Reuters. German Chancellor Angela Merkel leaves the meeting with President Frank-Walter Steinmeier after coalition government talks collapsed in Berlin

By Joseph Nasr and Andreas Rinke

BERLIN (Reuters) - Efforts to form a three-way coalition government have failed, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday, pitching Germany into its worst political crisis for decades, raising the prospect of new elections and casting doubt over her future.

The pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) withdrew from talks after more than four weeks of fruitless negotiations with Merkel's conservative bloc and the environmentalist Greens, saying there was not enough common ground.

With German leadership seen as crucial for a European Union grappling with governance reform and Britain's impending exit, FDP leader Christian Lindner's announcement that he was pulling out spooked investors and sent the euro falling.

A tired-looking Merkel said she would stay on as acting chancellor and consult President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on how to move forward. A deal had been within reach, she said.

With the Social Democrats (SPD) sticking on Monday to their pledge after losses in a September election not to go back into a Merkel-led "grand coalition" of centre-left and centre-right, the most likely option looked to be new elections.

Steinmeier, who in the ordinary course of events is meant to play a non-partisan role above the cut-and-thrust of party politics, was due to give a statement at 1330 GMT.

"It is a day of deep reflection on how to go forward in Germany," Merkel told reporters. "As chancellor, I will do everything to ensure that this country is well managed in the difficult weeks to come.

The failure of coalition talks is unprecedented in Germany's post-war history, and was likened by newsmagazine Der Spiegel to the shock election of U.S. President Donald Trump or Britain's referendum vote to leave the EU - moments when countries cast aside reputations for stability built up over decades.

The collapse came as a surprise since the main sticking points - immigration and climate change policy - were not seen as FDP signature issues.

Green politician Michael Kellner accused Lindner of "bad theatrics", one of many who suggested the liberal, pro-business party had never been serious about negotiating.

"It is better not to rule than to rule the wrong way. Goodbye!" Lindner said, announcing his withdrawal in the small hours, blaming the breakdown on a lack of progress on education and tax policy - areas that had been seen as less contentious.

"Christian 'Better no deal than a bad deal' Lindner - Germany's Boris Johnson," wrote political commentator Max Steinbeis on Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), comparing Lindner to the British foreign minister and Brexit campaigner who is widely seen by Germany's political class as a dangerous and heedless loose cannon.

UNAPPEALING OPTIONS

Germany now faces unappealing options not experienced in Germany's post-World War Two era: Merkel forms a minority government, or the president calls a new election if no government is formed.

The main parties fear that another election so soon would let the far-right, anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party add to the 13 percent of votes it secured in September, when it entered parliament for the first time. Polls suggest repeat elections would return a similarly fragmented parliament.

The SPD, which came second in the Sept. 24 election, said on Monday it had no wish to rejoin Merkel in a grand coalition and that voters should be given a say.

"We are not afraid of repeat elections. In such a situation, the ... voters must reassess what is going on," SPD leader Martin Schulz told a news conference. He added that a minority government was not a practical option in Germany.

Schulz also said he would meet Steinmeier and that Merkel had yet to contact him.

Some still believe that the SPD could change its mind, perhaps under pressure from Steinmeier, himself a former SPD foreign minister who served under Merkel.

Others felt the FDP could yet be prevailed upon to return to the negotiating table. The price for either party to change its mind could be the departure of Merkel, who for 12 years has been a symbol of German stability, leading Europe through the euro zone crisis.

Greens leader Kathrin Goering-Eckardt said she expected fresh elections.

Merkel was weakened by the September election as voters angry with her decision in 2015 to open the borders to more than a million asylum seekers punished her conservatives by voting for the AfD.

AfD politician Beatrix von Storch called the coalition talks collapse a success for her party, saying other parties' "fear of the AfD" had forced them to drive a hard bargain with the left-leaning Greens, who are dovish on immigration.

AfD leader Alexander Gauland demanded Merkel's resignation.

The inability to form a government caused disquiet elsewhere in Europe, not least because of the implications for the euro zone reforms championed by French President Emmanuel Macron and the negotiations over Britain's departure from the EU.

"It's not in our interests that the process freezes up," Macron told reporters in Paris, adding that he had spoken with Merkel shortly after the failure of talks.

In Brussels, Dutch foreign minister Halbe Zijlstra described the collapse as "bad news for Europe".

Merkel fourth term in doubt as German coalition talks fail
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind: 

  • Enrich the conversation
  • Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
  • Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
  •  Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
  • Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
  • Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Write your thoughts here
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Post
Post also to:
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Post 1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email