Meet Kevin Kühnert, German Politician Who Could Derail Grand Coalition Plans

Angela Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel took another step along the long and tortuous road to forming a new government on Sunday, when Social Democrats (SPD) agreed to coalition talks with her conservatives, four months after inconclusive elections.

"We will fight for further improvements in the coalition negotiations if we can continue the talks", he said.

Merkel, who wants to get the SPD to agree on a re-run of the "grand coalition" which has ruled Europe's biggest economy since 2013, said her priorities included ensuring Germany's economic strength, social justice and security.

"Angela Merkel needs to make credible commitments but there is no strong government in place and she can't be a caretaker only", Pepijn Bergsen, the Germany analyst for the Economist Intelligence Unit, said in an interview.

Germany's political breakthrough is likely to be welcomed in capitals across Europe, eager to see an end to the political impasse in a pivotal member state that has left key European Union policy decisions on hold.

Four months later, Merkel is still trying to form a coalition government, making it hard for her to respond to Mr Macron's proposals for reform.

"The choice is coalition negotiations or new elections", Schulz told a convention of 600 delegates who convened in the old West German capital on Sunday to decide the party's course.

The vote, which was closely watched in Germany and overseas, paves the way for negotiators to launch in-depth negotiations this week.

Angela Merkel
GETTYMrs Merkel has failed to form a coalition following September's election

Germany's anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) described the result as "undignified", and said the SPD was "flying blind" into irrelevance. "The vote sets new high hurdles for successful negotiations", Kempf said. "I am glad that we have the mandate to conduct coalition talks", SPD chairman Martin Schulz told TV channel Phoenix after the vote, saying that his next task is to reunite the party.

A new GroKo remains unwanted by the SPD party's young members and is largely unpopular among Germans. However the SPD leadership has pledged to ballot its sceptical membership on the terms of any coalition agreement.

"I think the Jamaica coalition broke up over taxes, immigration and coal consumption", said Professor of Political Science Ken Gilmore. This means that only half the electorate would vote for the two so-called People's Parties, the SPD and CDU.

He also stressed that Europe urgently needed a functioning German government to push its reform agenda forward, echoing concerns across the Continent over the potential consequences of "No" vote.

Resistance to a renewed Merkel alliance was loudest among the SPD's left and youth wings, who complained the preliminary coalition agreement fell short of campaign pledges.

Merkel's decision in 2015 to allow in large numbers of asylum-seekers caused major political friction and boosted the nationalist Alternative for Germany party, which previous year became the third-largest in parliament after campaigning on a shrill anti-migration and anti-Merkel message.

But 279 SPD members believe that the party should go into opposition to regroup after suffering its worst result since 1949 in the September election.

"But it is also hard for the conservatives because they know any deal still has to go through SPD members", Roemmele told Phoenix television.



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