German Social Democrats inch toward Merkel coalition talks

German Social Democrats inch toward Merkel coalition talks

German Social Democrats inch toward Merkel coalition talks

German Social Democrat (SPD) leader Martin Schulz said on Friday that his party broadly agreed it should not rule out any options for a new government and stressed that another conservative tie-up was not a foregone conclusion.

The chairman said the SPD's executive committee would discuss various options on Monday, and make a proposal which would be discussed at SPD's party conference from December 7 to 9 in Berlin.

The newspaper said the participants - Merkel, her Bavarian ally Horst Seehofer and Schulz - had discussed various options for forming a government, including a grand coalition, setting up a minority government under Merkel, and holding new elections.

Schultz had initially refused to consider another "grand coalition" with Merkel after a disastrous showing of the Social Democrats in the election on September 24, saying the Social Democrats needed to go into opposition.

Even if the two sides do agree to continue, they'll first have to negotiate the prerequisites for coalition talks, then carry out the coalition talks themselves, meaning it will likely be several months before a new government is formed.

Schulz said he had telephoned the CDU leader to say that any such claims from her conservatives to the media would be viewed as "a breach of trust".

Merkel told the party conference that she wants to "come quickly to a government", adding that Germany must have a stable government, "but also a government that really advances the country".

Martin Schulz, the leader of the rival Social Democrats (SPD), told an interview with Spiegel magazine he would insist on deeper integration as a condition of joining any new government under Mrs Merkel. "That's exactly what I will propose to the party leadership on Monday", Schulz said. "The fact we underlined today that we are prepared to enter such talks with the SPD shows that we're aiming to bring these talks to a successful conclusion".

Firmly denying that an agreement had been reached on opening negotiations on a grand right-left coalition, Schulz said that all options remained on the table.

"A positive response to Emmanuel Macron will be a key demand in any negotiation with the SPD".

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