Merkel Signals Preference For Fresh Elections Over Running Minority Government


AP — German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she is “very skeptical” about the idea of running a minority government and new election would be a better option if it’s not possible to form a coalition.

Merkel’s attempt to build a coalition of her conservatives and two smaller parties collapsed on Sunday. Her partners in the outgoing government, the center-left Social Democrats, insisted on Monday that they won’t renew the alliance.

No other politically plausible combination has a parliamentary majority – leaving a minority government or a new election as the only options.

Merkel said in an interview with ARD public television’s Brennpunkt program: “I don’t have a minority government in my plans….I don’t want to say never today, but I am very skeptical and I think that new elections would then be the better way.”


2:55 p.m.

The leader of Germany’s Free Democrats has defended his decision to torpedo talks on forming a coalition government with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc and the Greens, saying compromises needed would have gone against the pro-business party’s fundamental principles.

Christian Lindner told reporters Monday his party had attempted compromises but still found suggestions over its key topics of migration policies, financial issues and education too far removed from the “change in policies” that Germans voted for in the elections.

He says: “if the FDP had agreed to these, we would have had to abandon our fundamental positions.”

He says with such strife over trying to establish the framework for formal coalition negotiations, his party lost “confidence that a stable government could be formed with this constellation” of parties.

Lindner spoke before President Frank-Walter Steinmeier urged all parties to reconsider their positions so a government could be formed.


2:45 p.m.

Germany’s president is urging his country’s political parties to reconsider their positions and make it possible to form a new government.

Conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel’s talks on forming a coalition with the pro-business Free Democrats and traditionally left-leaning Greens collapsed Sunday night. On Monday, the center-left Social Democrats – Merkel’s partners in the outgoing government – said they won’t budge from their refusal to enter a new Merkel administration.

If that stands, a minority government or new elections are the only options. President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who would have to decide on those options, said he will meet the various parties this week and urged them to rethink.

Steinmeier said: “There would be incomprehension and great concern inside and outside our country, and particularly in our European neighborhood, if the political forces in the biggest and economically strongest country in Europe of all places didn’t fulfill their responsibility.”


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