SPD-led German coalition feasible by year’s end, party leader says

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

BERLIN: A three-part German government led by the Social Democrats (SPD) should be ready to take office by the end of the year, the center-left party co-leader said in a newspaper interview published Saturday.
Norbert Walter-Borjans said he was confident his party, which won Sunday’s national election by a narrow margin and was seeking partners, could quickly form a coalition with the Greens and the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP). ).
A ruling SPD alliance with the Greens and FDP – a “traffic light coalition” named after their respective colors – would force a parliamentary majority.
“The government should be in place by the end of the year. That is feasible,” Walter-Borjans told Welt am Sonntag.
“We don’t need to have exploratory talks until we drop this time, because we want a traffic light (coalition) where all three partners join forces,” he said.
“In that sense, we can start formal coalition negotiations in October and conclude them in December,” he added.
Greens co-leader Annalena Baerbock said her party was not yet committed to a specific coalition, but that its priorities were climate protection and a liberal society with social cohesion. “That means that you enter into conversations with an open mind,” she said at a party meeting.
Talks about forming a coalition government in Germany usually last several weeks or months. After the last national elections, on September 24, 2017, such negotiations continued until March.
On Sunday, the SPD will hold exploratory talks with both the Greens and the FDP. The two smaller “kingmaker” parties met on Friday for a second round of talks, which, according to FDP leader Christian Lindner, was held in a “good atmosphere”.
Coming from opposite ends of the political spectrum and at odds over a range of issues, the Greens and FDP have taken center stage after the SPD’s narrow election victory – its first since 2012.
Both the SPD and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc, which slumped to record levels, are seeking court from the smaller parties to secure a parliamentary majority for a ruling coalition. Polls show that voters would prefer the SPD to take the lead.
Merkel, in power since 2005, plans to step down once a new government is formed and will remain in power until then.

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