German Social Democrat not ruling out any options for new government

Posted December 04, 2017

The leader of the Social Democrats (SPD) Martin Schulz leaves after a joint meeting with Horst Seehofer, the head of the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) and Chancellor Angela Merkel, hosted by the German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, in Schloss Bellevue in Berlin, Germany, November 30, 2017.

"We need big ideas for our country", said Manuela Schwesig, the state premier of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and a former family minister.

Following first talks with Merkel late on Thursday, Schulz said he would recommend that the SPD begin formal discussions with her conservatives but firmly denied a media report this meant he was committing to joining a new government. The FDP made a decision to withdraw the talks with the Greens, the CDU and the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), for a new coalition government after the September 24 federal elections.

Merkel would have few problems getting her parliamentary group to go along with talks about extending their current collaboration with the Social Democrats, as there is broad consensus among conservatives that a grand coalition is the only way forward.

Schultz had initially refused to consider another "grand coalition" with Merkel after a disastrous showing of the Social Democrats in the election on September 24, saying the Social Democrats needed to go into opposition.

He said whoever circulated such reports was damaging trust.

"The people have voted, and I absolutely do not favour, if we can't do anything with the result, asking people to vote again", Merkel said on Saturday at a party conference of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Kuehlungsborn, northeast Germany, Xinhua reported citing Focus Online. But they ultimately agreed to start talks about a rerun of the conservative coalition.

The SPD will hold a party congress in Berlin on December 7-9, where it is expected to debate its options.

Angela Merkel faces demands for sweeping European Union reform and further integration as the price of a new coalition government in Germany, it emerged on Friday.

Ahead of that congress, which will also decide whether to re-elect Schulz as chief of the SPD, the party's top brass has been careful to tread softly regarding its options.

"Giving Emmanuel Macron a positive answer will be a key element in every negotiation with the SPD", Mr Schulz was quoted as saying in an interview on Friday.