The German Chancellor Angela Merkel is hopeful of a Grand Coalition as she meets the Social Democrats leader Martin Schulz. On Sunday, she met Horst Seehofer, Chairman of Bavarian Sister Party and SPD leader Martin Schulz in Berlin regarding the coalition talks. Along with being positive on the coalition, she also accepted that there was huge amount of work to be done to make this coalition work.
She was quoted as saying
I think that it can be done. We will work very swiftly and very intensively.
Even Schulz was sounding hopeful of open talks and said that the people of Germany deserve the fast growth and they would fully co-operate to achieve the same.
The discussion of coalition comes three months after the federal elections in September saw none of the three parties gaining majority, thus causing the fate of the country hanging in the open.
In November last year, the Christian Democratic Union party headed by Merkel tried to initiate the discussion of Coalition Government with Free Democrats Party and Green Party, however it could not proceed further as FDP chief Christian Lindner did not agree with the same.
There are, hence, only two options available for the Chancellor to form the Govt. coalition with SPD, apart from forming a minority Govt., an option which has never been used before. The SPD might try to take advantage of this by trying solid bargain despite knowing their weak bargaining power. The SPD had secured all time low vote share of 20.5 percent in the election held last September. So the talks of coalition comes as a major surprise as SPD leader Schulz at that time had announced that they would not enter into another coalition with Merkel Govt.
There will be total of 39 negotiators, 13 from each party, in the Sunday’s meeting of Grand Coalition, wherein all parties would be giving a declaration, by specifying their demands.
Now with the initiation of Coalition talks, there are expectations that the SPD could suffer more voter loss in the elections ahead.
The focus of the SPD leader Schulz is mainly on three policies, the first being compulsory State Health Insurance for everyone, second being realizing “United States of Europe” and third being the family members of refugees should be allowed to join them in Germany.
However, the final decision whether the coalition discussion with Merkel to be entered into formal negotiations or not will be decided by way of vote by SPD at their party conference expected to be held on January 21 this year. Schulz has promised 440,000 members of SPD that they will be allowed to vote and decide whether SPD should enter into grand coalition with Merkel’s CDU party or not.
In any case, even if the new coalition takes place, the new Govt. is not expected to be formed anytime sooner than Easter.