Merkel turns to the left in new coalition talks

  • 26/11/2017
Angela Merkel.
Angela Merkel. Photo credit: Reuters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she aims to get a government in place as quickly as possible after she was left scrambling to find a way to govern when three-way coalition talks collapsed last Sunday.

"Europe needs a strong Germany, it is desirable to get a government in place quickly," Ms Merkel told a party meeting, adding, however, that her acting government was able to carry on day to day business in Europe's biggest economy.

She added she was prepared to talk to the Social Democrats (SPD) after the centre-left party reversed an earlier decision and said it was prepared to talk to Ms Merkel's conservatives, but she stressed any talks should be based on mutual respect.

Germany's election was the same weekend as New Zealand's. New Zealand First leader Winston Peters was criticised by many for taking a few weeks to decide who would form the next Government.  

New Zealand's electoral system was largely based on the MMP system used by Germany.

Without even mentioning the option of a minority government, Ms Merkel said she wanted to look ahead after the setbacks of the last week. Sounding self-assured and drawing applause during her speech, she turned her attention fully to the SPD.

Welcoming the prospect of talks with her former partner, she defended the record of the last coalition.

"We worked well together," she said, adding under the grand coalition, Germany enjoyed the strongest labour market for decades, a balanced budget and pensioners and families had benefited, she argued.

President Frank-Walter Steinmeier is to host Ms Merkel, SPD leader Martin Schulz and the leader of her conservative CSU sister party for a meeting on Thursday. Mr Steinmeier had exerted considerable pressure on Schulz to change course for the sake of stability in Germany.

Reuters / Newshub.