SPD-led German coalition doable by year end, party co-leader says

Germany’s Social Democratic SPD party co-leader Norbert Walter-Borjans and others deliver a press statement at the party’s headquarters in Berlin on September 27 (AFP)

BERLIN: A three-way German government led by the Social Democrats (SPD) should be ready to take office by the end of the year, the co-leader of the centre-left party said in a newspaper interview published on Saturday.
Norbert Walter-Borjans said he was confident his party, which won Sunday’s national election by a thin margin that left it seeking partners, could move swiftly to agree a coalition with the Greens and the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP).
An SPD ruling alliance with the Greens and FDP – dubbed a “traffic light” coalition after their respective colours – would command a parliamentary majority.
“The government should be in place by the end of the year. That is possible,” Walter-Borjans told the Welt am Sonntag.
“We don’t have to keep up exploratory talks until we drop this time, because we want a traffic light (coalition) in which all three partners bring their strengths to bear,” he said.
“In that sense, we could start formal coalition negotiations in October and conclude them by December,” he additional.
Greens co-leader Annalena Baerbock said her party was not however committed to a specific coalition but its priorities were climate protection, and a liberal society with social cohesion. “That method entering talks with an open mind,” she told a party meeting.
Talks on forming a coalition government in Germany commonly take several weeks or months. After the last national election, on Sept. 24, 2017, such negotiations went on until the following March.
The SPD is due to keep up exploratory talks with both the Greens and FDP on Sunday. The two smaller “kingmaker” parties met on Friday for a second round of talks, which FDP leader Christian Lindner said were held in a “good air”.
The Greens and FDP, from opposite ends of the political spectrum and at odds on a range of issues, have moved centre stage after the SPD’s thin election victory – its first since 2012.
Both the SPD and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc, which slumped to a record low consequence, are courting the smaller parties to get a parliamentary majority for a ruling coalition. surveys show voters would prefer the SPD to rule it.
Merkel, in strength since 2005, plans to step down once a new government is formed and will stay on until that point.

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