After Disaster Election, Potential Merkel Coalition Partner Demands Migration Cap

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OLIVER JJ LANE

Potential coalition partners in the new German government are expected to extract a high price from the leading Christian Democrats in return for their cooperation, and fears persist that the country may not be able to form a government at all.

Long-standing German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who emerged with a much diminished yet the largest party Sunday was forced to deny there would be a second election following her largest coalition partner withdrawing and going into opposition.

Leading her party to its worst electoral performance since 1949, the chancellor must find coalition partners — but even those she assumed she could rely on are talking about conditional support. Merkel remains as the nation’s so-called caretaker chancellor until talks are completed or the unthinkable occurs: a snap election.

The Christian Social Union (CSU), Merkel’s Christian Democrat (CDU) sister party and so closely related they have been generally considered one entity, has made clear on Tuesday their members of parliament come at a price.

Speaking out on behalf of his colleagues, senior CSU member and Bavarian Finance Minister Markus Söder said an ongoing parliamentary alliance with the larger CDU without an upper limit on migrant arrivals would be “unimaginable”, reports Welt.

Remarking that Germany had been “fundamentally changed” by the migrant crisis and that many people no longer felt safe, the politician said an annual limit of 200,000 would be a “core requirement” in discussions. The limit could make putting together any potential coalition even more difficult for Merkel, as a roof on migrant numbers at all would be an anathema to the Green party, whose MPs Merkel needs to lead.

One of the Green’s two co-leaders said of the negotiations to come that they “will certainly be very complicated and very difficult”. The deputy leader of another potential small coalition partner party, Wolfgang Kubicki of the liberal FDP, said they would not form a coalition “at any price” and would fight hard for their goals.

The left-wing Social Democrat SPD, who had co-ruled Germany in a so-called grand coalition, has ruled out joining again and has gone into opposition to prevent the populist, anti-mass migration Alternative for Germany (AfD), who came third, from becoming the official opposition.

Despite having the third largest number of MPs and being, like the CDU, a right wing party, there has been no suggestion of Merkel inviting the AfD to join the government, leaving them frozen out and eliminating a potential answer to Germany’s coalition problem.

AfD surged from sixth place and no members of parliament to third place and 94 seats on Sunday. The party has been treated as a pariah by other groups and the mainstream media in Europe who routinely refer to it as far-right.

Chancellor Merkel told reporters yesterday she hoped to have built a coalition by Christmas.

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