BERLIN – German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative party reiterated on Friday its readiness to enter serious coalition negotiations with the social democrats, whose center-left leader has come out to strongly deny recent tabloid rumors that a deal between the country’s leading two parties was all but closed.
The Christian Democrat coalition (CDU/CSU) has been moving increasingly towards the prospect of reigniting a so-called grand coalition government with the Social Democratic Party (SPD) of Martin Schulz ever since negotiations with a smaller liberal party and the Greens collapsed, giving way to a very real possibility that Germans may be forced back to the polls to rectify the inconclusive Sept. 24 federal elections.
A CDU spokesperson, Klaus Schüler, repeated his party’s disposition to begin talks with the SPD afresh but Schulz, who has agreed to non-binding expiatory talks, spent part of his day at a party conference blasting as “completely false” a recent report in the daily tabloid Der Bild that suggested some form of coalition agreement had already been struck behind closed doors.
Germany’s president, Frank Walter-Steinmeier, was working to keep coalition negotiations afloat and has appealed to all political parties to remain open to talks in order to avoid a repeat ballot.
Schulz met with Walter-Steinmeier and the head of the Bavarian wing of Merkel’s party, Horst Seehofer, for talks late on Thursday, but neither gave press conferences after the discussions ended.