Coalition Talks: Greens Reject Alliance with Conservatives

Greens parliamentary floor leader and party co-chair Claudia Roth as preliminary coalition talks with Merkel's CDU began on Tuesday. Zoom
DPA

Greens parliamentary floor leader and party co-chair Claudia Roth as preliminary coalition talks with Merkel's CDU began on Tuesday.

After a long night of talks on Tuesday night, Germany's Greens have ruled out forming a governing coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives. Now her only option is to allign herself with the center-left Social Democrats.

Exploratory talks between German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and the environmentalist Greens broke down late on Tuesday night, with the Greens ruling out the possibility of forming a governing coalition together.

It was the two parties' second attempt to find common ground, but differences in several areas proved too great to overcome, party leaders said after seven hours of discussions in Berlin.

A number of topics were discussed "intensively," said Hermann Gröhe, general secretary for the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), adding that his party had not seen any "insurmountable obstacles," but had acknowledged the Greens' refusal to enter official coalition talks.

Green Party co-chair Claudia Roth said she and her colleagues had concluded "that we cannot recommend to our party conference that we take up government coalition talks," adding that they did not feel there was a "credible foundation" for governing the country for the next four years.

Nevertheless, both parties said their second round of negotiations marked a positive development in relations between the CDU and Greens. "The door is open, and as things currently stand, it won't be closing," said Greens co-chair Cem Özdemir.

Differences on Social and Labor Issues

The announcement came after the Greens had repeatedly made it clear that there had been little progress in compromising on important issues, particularly labor and social issues. The Greens had hoped to persuade the CDU to raise taxes, aim for establishing a minimum wage and increase state benefits for the long-term unemployed. There were also reportedly major differences on transportation and agriculture.

Now Merkel's only option is forming a so-called grand coalition with the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), which is closer to the CDU than the Greens in terms of policy. Their next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, but the two parties made little progress in their last round of talks, dampening tentative hopes that the formation of a new government may be easier than expected following the Sept. 22 election.

Merkel said last week she wants to know by Oct. 22 which party she will be entering formal coalition talks with -- that's when the newly elected Bundestag, Germany's lower house of parliament, assembles for its first session. She led her conservatives to their best general election result since reunification in 1990, coming in just five seats short of an absolute majority.

The Greens, meanwhile, have embarked on a strategic rethink after they scored just 8.4 percent in the election, a disappointing result that triggered resignations.

-- kla, with wire reports

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1. optional
peskyvera 10/16/2013
Why not also talk to DIE LINKE? It is an official political party with seat in the government. Afraid of something?
2. optional
danm 10/16/2013
What happens if the CDU and SDP cannot reach an agreement? Will they hold another round of elections?
3. German election
chris@drakemarine.co.uk 10/17/2013
Sometimes trying to achieve consensus in politics is not the best way forward. Given the refusal of the greens to enter a coalition and the fact that Frau Merkel only needs 6 additional seats a grand coalition seems over the top and the SDP will demand much more influence over policy than their election results could possibly justify. David Cameron is suffering from exactly the same problem as the LibDems, with only 20% of coalition seats are holding him to ransom over most aspects of policy. If Frau Merkel cannot persuade a small number of independently minded Elected members of the Bundestag to join her government she should call a fresh election.
4. too funny
lol1232 10/17/2013
It was nice of Claudia Roth to push the Socialist Democrats into the arms of the "conservatives". By definition conservative means conserving what you have which would make them a Green, by joining forces with the Socialist Democrats they are moving toward a coalition Merkel came from which is communism and with the collective mentality which already pretty much exits in Germany it should work out fine. The problem with socialism/commuism is that once the collective money runs out you have to find new pockets to pick and that doesn't come cheap.
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