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Germany’s Greens and CDU report ‘constructive’ coalition talks

Germany’s Green party and conservatives have described initial rounds of exploratory coalition talks as “constructive”.

The comment came after the first formal meeting since last month’s election between the likely chief kingmaker in a future government and the second-placed Christian Democrats (CDU).

Annalena Baerbock, main candidate for the Greens, which secured just under 15% of votes, said the two-hour long discussion on Tuesday had been “constructive and objective” but that no decision would be reached in the coming days.

The Greens have long favoured a coalition with the Social Democrats (SPD), which narrowly won the largest share of votes in the 26 September vote.

But the pro-business FDP, which secured just 11.5% and is viewed as the other kingmaker, would prefer a partnership with the CDU. Most obvious coalition options will have to involve a third party.

The SPD, led by its chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz, held bilateral talks with the FDP followed by the Greens, on Sunday and said it was ready for three-way talks.

Despite pressure on the CDU’s Armin Laschet to relinquish his claim to a place in government after the party returned its historically worst ever result, he is forging ahead in his attempts to woo both the Greens and the FDP to form a CDU-led Jamaica coalition, so-called due to yellow, black and green colours of the three parties matching those of Jamaica’s flag.

He said on Tuesday that his conservative alliance, which won just over 24%, “is basically prepared for such a union” and described the meeting as a “good exchange”.

The outcome most popular with the German electorate, according to a series of polls, is however a “traffic light” coalition led by the SPD with the Greens and the FDP, with red, green and yellow party colours.

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In a new survey on Tuesday for the broadcasters RTL/ntv-Trendbarometer, 74% of those questioned were in favour of the CDU going into opposition, after 16 years in government under chancellor Angela Merkel.

While 48% of CDU/CSU voters said the conservatives should try to form a Jamaica coalition, an almost equal amount, 47%, said they should go into opposition; 53% of all of those questioned were in favour of a traffic light coalition, and only 22% wanted Jamaica.

A repeat of the grand coalition between the CDU/CSU and SPD, which has been in power for 12 of the past 16 years, is seen as an administration of last resort, if talks between the other groupings fail, and has the backing of only 12% of the electorate, according to the poll.

All parties have stressed the need for a swifter conclusion to the talks than after the last election in 2017 when they dragged on for nearly six months.

Pressure is mounting due to the challenges which lie ahead for Germany, including post-pandemic economic recovery and widespread structural reform in an effort to tackle climate change.

But observers insist the complexity of a three-way coalition means the prospect of a new government before Christmas would be optimistic.

The FDP and the SPD in particular, have accused the CDU of not playing by the rules by leaking details of their respective bilateral talks to the German media.

Merkel will remain in power in a caretaker role until a new government is in place.


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