• Saturday, Dec 10, 2022
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

Germany's SPD says ready for talks to end political crisis

  • Published at 01:56 pm November 24th, 2017
Germany's SPD says ready for talks to end political crisis
Germany moved a step towards resolving its political crisis Friday when the Social Democrats (SPD) said they were ready to hold talks with caretaker Chancellor Angela Merkel, in a sign they might offer the veteran leader their key support. Europe's economic powerhouse has been mired in uncertainty since Merkel's conservative bloc won a September 24 vote but without a clear majority, leaving it unclear whether it would be able to continue to rule. "We won't be obstructionist for the sake of being obstructionist," said SPD leader Martin Schulz, dropping his earlier categorical rejection to a governing alliance with Merkel. But he also cautioned that there was "no automatic path" to a solution -- which could take the form of a new coalition, or of cooperating as Merkel runs a minority government -- and that SPD rank-and-file members would have to approve any decision. The setbacks Merkel's bloc suffered in the September election were in part due to the rise of the far-right, anti-immigration AfD which took millions of votes from all mainstream parties. Merkel has since the vote failed to find coalition partners to govern the EU's largest economy for her fourth term. The centre-left SPD -- Merkel's former junior coalition allies -- vowed to go into opposition immediately after the election in which they scored a dismal result. However, Merkel's talks with two other parties, the left-leaning Greens and pro-business FDP, collapsed early this week when the FDP unilaterally pulled out. Merkel now faces few good options short of new elections: asking the SPD to enter a new "grand coalition", or running a minority government, possibly with the Greens, and asking the SPD to cooperate on an issue-by-issue basis.

'Credibility problem'

Schulz had repeatedly rejected governing in Merkel's shadow, but has now faced mounting pressure within his party ranks to rethink his stance, and help stop Germany from sinking into months of paralysis. "The SPD cannot behave like a child sulking in the corner," said SPD Justice Minister Heiko Maas after his party Thursday held an eight-hour meeting late into the night. President Frank-Walter Steinmeier -- who can call snap polls, and who is himself a senior Social Democrat -- also turned up the heat, saying that this "is the moment when all participants need to reconsider their attitude". Steinmeier met SPD leader Schulz on Thursday as part of a series of talks he is holding with all parties. Schulz said Friday in a televised statement that, although "Germany is not suffering a crisis of state, we are in a complicated situation". The former president of the European parliament said he had received many worried phone calls from other EU countries and told them that "the SPD is aware of its responsibility", both toward its country and the continent. The SPD's deputy chair Manuela Schwesig complained that the conservatives, Greens and FDP had left "a pile of broken glass" two months after the election, and that "we can't be asked to pick up all the shards within two days". Political scientist Oskar Niedermayer of Berlin's Free University said "the two options now are for the SPD to join a grand coalition or to tolerate a conservative minority government". The SPD's dilemma was that, after Schulz had repeatedly ruled out working with Merkel, any change of position could spell "a major credibility problem" for the party, Niedermayer told news channel NTV.
Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail