Merkel signals readiness for new election after coalition talks collapse

Exploratory talks about forming a new coalition government in Berlin
German Chancellor Angela Merkel of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) during the exploratory talks about forming a new coalition government in Berlin, Germany, November 19, 2017. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

November 21, 2017

By Paul Carrel and Gernot Heller

BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would prefer a new election to ruling with a minority after talks on forming a three-way coalition failed overnight, but Germany’s president told parties they owed it to voters to try to form a government.

The major obstacle to a three-way deal was immigration, according to Merkel, who was forced into negotiations after bleeding support in the Sept. 24 election to the far right in a backlash at her 2015 decision to let in over 1 million migrants.

The failure of exploratory coalition talks involving her conservative bloc, the liberal pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) and environmentalist Greens raises the prospect of a new election and casts doubt about her future after 12 years in power.

Merkel, 63, said she was sceptical about ruling in a minority government, telling ARD television: “My point of view is that new elections would be the better path.” Her plans did not include being chancellor in a minority government, she said after meeting President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Steinmeier said Germany was facing the worst governing crisis in the 68-year history of its post-World War Two democracy and pressed all parties in parliament “to serve our country” and try to form a government.

His remarks appeared aimed at the FDP and the Social Democrats (SPD), who on Monday ruled out renewing their “grand coalition” with the conservatives.

“Inside our country, but also outside, in particular in our European neighbourhood, there would be concern and a lack of understanding if politicians in the biggest and economically strongest country (in Europe) did not live up to their responsibilities,” read a statement from Steinmeier, a former foreign minister who has been thrust centre-stage after taking on the usually largely ceremonial head of state role in March.

Steinmeier’s intervention suggests he regards a new election – desired by half of Germany’s voters according to a poll – as a last resort. The SPD has so far stuck to a pledge after heavy losses in the September election not to go back into a Merkel-led broad coalition of centre-left and centre-right.

Merkel urged the SPD to reconsider. “I would hope that they consider very intensively if they should take on the responsibility” of governing, she told broadcaster ZDF, adding she saw no reason to resign and her conservative bloc would enter any new election more unified than before.

“If new elections happened, then … we have to accept that. I’m afraid of nothing,” she said.

Business leaders also called for a swift return to talks.

With German leadership seen as crucial for a European Union grappling with governance reform and Britain’s impending exit, FDP leader Christian Lindner’s announcement that he was pulling out spooked investors and sent the euro falling in the morning.

Both the euro and European shares later recovered from early selling, while German bond yields steadied near 1-1/2 week lows, as confidence about the outlook for the euro zone economy helped investors brush off worries about the risk of Germany going to the polls again soon.

FEAR OF FAR-RIGHT GAINS

Earlier, Merkel got the strong backing of her CDU leadership.

Josef Joffe, publisher-editor of Germany weekly Die Zeit said she could rely on CDU support for now, but added: “I will not bet on her serving out her entire four-year term.”

The main parties fear another election so soon would let the far-right, anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party add to the 13 percent of votes it secured in September, when it entered parliament for the first time. Polls suggest a repeat election would return a similarly fragmented parliament.

A poll published on Monday showed a new election would bring roughly the same result as the September election, with the Greens set to see the biggest gains.

If Germans voted next Sunday, Merkel’s conservatives would get 31 percent, the SPD 21 percent, the Greens and the AfD both 12 percent, the FDP 10 percent and the Left party 9 percent, the Forsa survey for RTL television showed.

This compares with the election result of 32.9 percent for the conservatives, 20.5 percent for the SPD, 12.6 percent for AfD, 10.7 percent for FDP, 9.2 percent for the Left party and 8.9 percent for the Greens.

The failure of coalition talks is unprecedented in Germany’s post-war history, and was likened by newsmagazine Der Spiegel to the shock election of U.S. President Donald Trump or Britain’s referendum vote to leave the EU – moments when countries cast aside reputations for stability built up over decades.

Any outcome in Germany is, however, likely to be more consensus driven. “The problem is stagnation and immobility, not instability as in Italy,” said Joffe.

The unravelling of the German talks came as a surprise since the main sticking points – immigration and climate policy – were not seen as FDP signature issues.

Responding to criticism from the Greens, FDP vice chairman Wolfgang Kubicki said a tie-up would have been short-lived. “Nothing would be worse than to get into a relationship about which we know that it will end in a dirty divorce,” he said.

Even if the SPD or the FDP revisit their decisions, the price for either party to change its mind could be the departure of Merkel, who since 2005 has been a symbol of German stability, leading Europe through the euro zone crisis.

The inability to form a government caused disquiet elsewhere in Europe, not least because of the implications for the euro zone reforms championed by French President Emmanuel Macron.

Germany’s political impasse could also complicate and potentially delay the Brexit negotiations – Britain has just over a year to strike a divorce deal with the EU ahead of an exit planned for March 29, 2019.

“It’s not in our interests that the process freezes up,” Macron told reporters in Paris, adding he had spoken with Merkel shortly after the failure of talks.

(Additional reporting by Joseph Nasr, Michael Nienaber, Andreas Rinke and Andrea Shalal in Berlin, Guy Faulconbridge in London, Gabriela Baczynska in Brussels; Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

45 Comments on "Merkel signals readiness for new election after coalition talks collapse"

  1. That old cow should be imprisoned for murdering her country.

  2. Randolph Oberlin | November 20, 2017 at 8:10 pm |

    She was an East German communist before she converted to the CDU. The immigration policy she instituted will and is destroying Germany. Hope the hold new elections. I think she will lose big time. Working class Germans are pissed.

  3. SaidNO2Liberalism | November 20, 2017 at 3:37 pm |

    Germans, the sins of your fore fathers have been repaid. Save yourselves and stop all this open borders and political correctness nonsense.

    • Thank you. Self-loathing is a vicious Liberal disease that destroys nations and murders cultures.

  4. Caddolakeguy | November 20, 2017 at 1:51 pm |

    I think Merkel is becoming the new Hillary. Bwahaahaaahaaaa!

  5. Thank God Hillary lost. No open borders here!
    Germanys Markle has ruined the country… What a shame…

  6. SOmeone needs to hide that wench.

  7. I cant believe the German people have not lynched her.

  8. Charles Slavis | November 20, 2017 at 8:59 am |

    Along with the NFL….

  9. Charles Slavis | November 20, 2017 at 8:57 am |

    And they hit the wall…….

  10. Charles Slavis | November 20, 2017 at 8:57 am |

    I feed raccoons to keep them out of the bird feeders…….More and more keep coming…..along with the cats…….only solution……let them feed themselves……Cats solve the bird problem…..Raccoons solve the cat problem……With no food….the raccoons head for the southern boarder…..

  11. Charles Slavis | November 20, 2017 at 8:53 am |

    Merkel pulls an Erkle……..”Did I do that?”…….

  12. If any of the three parties trying to form a government cuck then they will lose their support in the next election. That is why none can give much way. This will give the AFD a chance to garner more support. It’s not like the invaders in Germany have stopped raping, murdering, and robbing since the last election.

  13. The formation of a NWO must be stopped no matter what the cost. We cannot lose this fight against the globalists. I pray the German people and all people in every country understand what is at risk.

    • Daniel 7:23
      -” Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon
      earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the
      whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces”. I think it’s clear this references to Islam. We can see it developing right in front of our eyes,but can not stop it.

  14. on FaceBook, Germans have been celebrating this event. Most of them believe that Merkel’s victory was due to illegals voting, and they hope they will get a second chance to elect the candidate they could really trust. Merkel has basically been German Hillary, less the rapist husband and email scandals. However, there is a fear spreading through Europe that if Merkel loses her role in Germany, she will be appointed to a leading role at EU, which means she would have much more influence over the immigration situation in Europe.

    • …same thing in the USA, its how its being pulled off everywhere the ‘globalists’ have power, left or supposed right…. fraud on their own people. special place in hell for those who would do this to their own country, their own people and the children of their own people.

  15. she looks like a freaking potato with a bad haircut

  16. BURN, MERKEL….BURN!

  17. LIZARDMANSC52 | November 20, 2017 at 5:31 am |

    Germany’s “conservative bloc” is Conservative in name only.

  18. GESUNDHEIT

  19. Joseph Crowder | November 20, 2017 at 4:41 am |

    The Best thing that could happen for Germany would be to get this fat liberal turd out of office…

  20. Fat Merkel sold Germany out on the Progressive dream of helping to spread muslim terrorism across the globe. Reuters, helping to spread the myth, continues to mislabel political groups. A subtle but serious ploy of propaganda machines throughout history. What played out in the United States and is now playing out in Germany, is the general dislike of the average citizen for the poison handed out by the progressives in their global grab for power. Since they are failing on the political realm, be prepared for their action on the military realm. We have seen ATIFA and others in Europe go on the attack. More will follow as progressives start to loose in their power grab. Ultimately, it will be up to each citizen of every country to rise up and rid this planet of the progressive cancer that has taken hold.

  21. One can only hope she fails so Germany can return all the migrants who are making it a third world country!

  22. The Trump Tsunami to Success | November 20, 2017 at 12:06 am |

    the communist dominos are failing and falling
    FREEDOM and Trump Triumph

  23. JaySands1234 | November 19, 2017 at 7:38 pm |

    Seems that the untermenschlich invasion is getting out of control.

  24. If Germany doesn’t want to cap their illegal immigration people then we should send them ours. Just trying to help Germany out.

  25. LuciusAnnaeusSeneca | November 19, 2017 at 7:09 am |

    One thing we can be sure of, that we won’t know the full details of any agreement to satisfy the Greens. Merkel and her CDU will probably find a way to hide important details. That said, it looks like there might not be a deal, which should sober up the German electorate to think long and hard if a snap election is held.

    Again, the use of politically-loaded party labels by the Reuters editor sullies the overall quality of this article. It seems that the editor, who has had time with the British tabloids, can’t or won’t distinguish between the right and the far-right when referring to the AfD. And he is far out of focus calling Merkel’s CDU “conservative”. By a stretch of the imagination that might apply to the CSU within the CDU, but there is little else about the CDU that is conservative, sensible, or decent any more.

    • Disgusted Caucasian | November 19, 2017 at 8:11 pm |

      When I saw “conservative” and Merkel in the same paragraph I figured the author was probably an East German communist like Merkel.

      • LuciusAnnaeusSeneca | November 20, 2017 at 3:18 am |

        It is interesting that editors in Germany and the UK apply identical, and misleading, labels to the German political parties. Apparently Reuters is giving guidance on this, but for what reason? I’m sure readers would like to know.

      • ReaganKnewBest | November 20, 2017 at 8:33 am |

        To be fair Europe’s definition of conservatism is different than ours.

    • LuciusAnnaeusSeneca | November 20, 2017 at 3:26 am |

      The latest (20 November): The chickens have come home to roost. What happened? The best answer seems to be that Merkel went all the way with the Greens’ demands on immigration, finding some way to placate the CSU element of her CDU party. But whatever agreement was made was completely unacceptable to the FDP, who not just turned it down, but simply left. It’s obvious that they don’t trust the CDU and Merkel any more, or their deal making.

      Now Merkel has two bleak choices. The first is to go ahead with a minority government, which probably will not last long, considering the diversity of agendas and interests that now seem out of control in the German body politic. The second is to hold another election, which might see further erosion of CDU support and gains by smaller parties, including the AfD. And the two are not mutually exclusive. We could see a period of struggling minority government followed by another election. But that would be a big risk for Merkel or a CDU successor, as a failed minority government would likely cost the CDU even more support.

    • LIZARDMANSC52 | November 20, 2017 at 5:41 am |

      The “far right” is actually FAR LEFT. It’s like liberals calling the KKK a far right organization. It and it’s buds are anything but conservative.

      • LuciusAnnaeusSeneca | November 20, 2017 at 6:31 am |

        Exactly. The purpose of the Reuters labelling is to confuse readers, as they will equate the nationalist, moderate center-right AfD with the so-called “far right” who are, as you say, anti-democratic and, if Nazis, leftists.

    • anybody that even owns a national flag and puts it up on holidays is ‘far right’ to these people. They want those flags to drop folks. They really do.

      • LuciusAnnaeusSeneca | November 20, 2017 at 1:07 pm |

        Well said. Any vestige of nationalism is abhorrent and frightening to Merkel and her supporters, as well as to their EU puppet masters.

        • yes. very briefly; I read your other posts on this, I think you have it. Also, in addition to the variables you pointed out, I believe that they are counting ‘foreign nationals’ votes there, as well as here – I believe this more everyday. I did not want to believe this was the heart of it, but I am convinced it is and that this will continue. I also believe it is having a tremendous impact in USA. The fraud + a few thousand votes is the core of it. Very small percentages is all that it needed to sway each localized race (it runs the same spread in national elections) I believe that we need to get fully verifiable systems in place if there are to be nation states in the future. The fact that we don’t presently, only assurances and resistance to verifiable systems – shows that those in power – are intent to continue this game. Its 2017, it is preposterous that we do not in the west insist upon absolute systems with real time accountability.

  26. whoselineisitanyway | November 19, 2017 at 6:40 am |

    MERKEL NEEDS TO GO.
    Germans need to reclaim their country from the Feminazis Merkel.

  27. Take notice crime has gone through the roof since all those immigrants came in to Germany which was one of the biggest mistakes Germany ever made.

Comments are closed.