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Weakened Merkel Seeking Compromise in Coalition Talks

Weakened Merkel Seeking Compromise in Coalition TalksWeakened Merkel Seeking Compromise in Coalition Talks

A chastened Angela Merkel warned her conservatives they must compromise to forge a nationally untested alliance in Germany as she heads into talks with other parties on Wednesday after suffering losses in last month’s election.

Merkel’s conservatives, comprising her own Christian Democrats (CDU) and Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), are striving for a tie-up with the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) and the Greens, Reuters reported.

But policy differences are wide and in the last few weeks politicians from all parties have set out their stall, narrowing room for compromise in policy areas from immigration to the EU and environmental policy.

A senior CSU figure even said the conservatives may yet have to talk to their former coalition partners the Social Democrats several months down the line.

Bild daily quoted Merkel, whose conservatives bled support to the far right in the Sept. 24 vote, as telling her parliamentary party on Tuesday evening: “We won’t come out of this without compromises” even if they have clear goals.

Merkel, chancellor for 12 years and known as a skilled negotiator, angered many voters over her open-door migrant policy and her conservatives saw their worst result since 1949.

She has said she expects a government to be in place by Christmas, but some senior politicians say January is more likely. That points to policy standstill in Europe’s biggest economy for at least three months.

Even then, there is no guarantee of success. The prospect of a minority government or new elections loom over the talks, a scenario Merkel wants to avoid due to fears the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) could make bigger gains.

“It is totally conceivable that before Christmas or in January, we say that the whole thing is pointless and we’ll talk to the Social Democrats (SPD),” Peter Ramsauer, a senior CSU member but not on the negotiating team, told Deutschlandfunk.

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