German Greens pull out of coalition talks with Merkel

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel (center) arrives for a meeting of the German cabinet at the chancellery in Berlin on Wednesday. AFP PHOTO

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (center) arrives for a meeting of the German cabinet at the chancellery in Berlin on Wednesday. AFP PHOTO

BERLIN: Germany’s Green party on Wednesday pulled out of coalition talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, who must now get their rival Social Democrats on board in order to form a new government.

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“The Greens don’t want to negotiate on a coalition,” party vice president Claudia Roth told a press conference after the lengthy talks on joining Merkel’s conservative CDU party and its Bavarian sister party, the CSU, broke down.

“Do we have a solid basis for four years of (coalition) government? That didn’t seem to us to be the case after these talks,” she added. Hermann Groehe, secretary general of Merkel’s CDU party confirmed that talks had collapsed.

Negotiations on forming a left-right “grand coalition” with the Social Democrats (SPD) are due to resume on Thursday.

Despite a convincing win at the polls on September 22, the CDU and CSU need to form an alliance with another party in order to ensure a majority in parliament.

A recent poll showed two-thirds of Germans would favor a left-right “grand coalition” between the two big parties, Merkel’s conservatives and the center-left Social Democrats.

The two main parties have already held two rounds of talks with a third already pencilled in for Thursday before the talks with the Greens broke down.

The CDU and the Greens have never governed together at national level, although they have done so regionally.

Groehe stressed the “intensity” of the negotiations and the “great mutual respect” between the two parties, despite their policy differences, which center mainly around social issues.

The secretary general of the Bavarian CSU, more conservative than the CDU and thus even less close to the Greens, said he had been surprised by the “serious level” of the talks.

AFP

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