German social democrats want new elections after government talks collapse

By Jan Spaans

The German Social Democratic Party(SPD) have called for new parliamentary elections to be held following attempts to form a government have proven fruitless.

The election in September allowed Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party (CDU) to commence negotiations to form a majority government with the Liberal Party(FDP) and the Green Party, but on Sunday night the news emerged that coalition talks have collapsed.

It is understood that the parties were unable to get closer to each other on the important topics of migration and energy. FDP leader Christian Lindner said “it is better not to govern than to govern in the wrong way.”

With every other party represented in the German parliament having excluded the possibility of cooperating with the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), the only viable option for a majority government seems to be a continuation of the alliance of Merkel’s CDU and Martin Schulz’s SPD. The socialists, however, ruled out that option prior to the election and Schulz has reiterated that in a press conference on Monday.

“The SPD is unavailable for a coalition with the CDU. We think it is important that citizens can make a fresh judgement. We assume new elections will take place and we are not afraid of them”, said Schulz, addressing the media in Berlin. It would be the first time in post-war Germany that the election result left politicians unable to form a government. It is not a given that a renewed election would deliver an obvious solution to this crisis.

Another option for Merkel would be to form a minority government with either the greens or the liberals, but that would require Merkel and her party to find support within the opposition in order to be able to implement any legislation.

By Jan Spaans

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