Merk argiewe: koalisie

3 German parties aim to start formal coalition talks

3 German parties aim to start formal coalition talks
Three German parties aim to open formal coalition talks after all made gains in last month’s election

Three German parties aim to open formal coalition talks after all made gains in last month’s election, moving a step closer to a new government that would send outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel s center-right bloc into opposition.

The center-left Sosiaal -Demokrate the environmentalist Groenes and the pro-business Free Democrats on Friday wrapped up just over a week of three-way exploratory talks and agreed they have enough common ground to recommend moving on to full-fledged coalition negotiations. That still requires approval by a congress of the Greens and by the Free Democrats’ leierskap.

If the talks are ultimately successful, Social Democrat Olaf Scholz — the finance minister and vice chancellor in the outgoing government — will become Germany’s new leader.

Scholz pulled the Social Democrats out of a long poll slump to win Germany’s Sept. 26 election by a narrow margin. Merkel’s Union bloc finished second, with its worst-ever share of the vote. It is currently in turmoil, focused on digesting its defeat and finding a new leadership.

The three-way coalition now under discussion has never been tried at national level. The only politically plausible alternatives would be a government led by the Union with the Greens and Free Democrats as junior partners, or a rerun — this time led by Scholz — of Merkel’s often bad-tempered “grand coalition” of Germany’s traditional big parties.

Merkel, who has led Germany since 2005, announced in 2018 that she wouldn’t seek a fifth term.

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Follow AP’s coverage of Germany’s transition to a new government at http://apnews.com/hub/germany-election