Merkel Races to Form Gov’t

Merkel Races to Form Gov’tMerkel Races to Form Gov’t

Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Friday for a quick end to the last stretch of tortuous negotiations to forge a government for Germany, in a race against time to stop her power slipping away at home and abroad.

As she arrived for the final round of talks with potential partners in her fourth government, the Social Democrats (SPD), she said the country and Europe could not afford to wait much longer, AFP reported.

“We will see to it that we negotiate quickly,” Merkel told reporters, saying she was going into the negotiations “optimistically and with determination”.

“It’s not only about a fresh start for Europe but also for Germany,” she added.

A leading member of her Christian Democrats, Michael Grosse-Broemer, later said the parties hoped to wrap up the negotiations by February 4, although he allowed for an additional two-day grace period. That timetable is even more ambitious than one Merkel had previously laid out, which had set a deadline of February 11.

The SPD had on Sunday only narrowly voted to launch formal coalition negotiations with her conservative alliance on the basis of a preliminary deal sealed two weeks ago, four months after September’s election.

However the outcome of the talks gathering the SPD as well as Merkel’s CDU party and Bavarian CSU allies is far from certain.

The SPD is torn internally on whether it should once again govern under Merkel.

Its youth wing is energetically canvassing for votes to veto any deal for a new grand coalition—known as the “GroKo”—when the 440,000 members of the country’s second biggest party hold a referendum on the question. What is clear is that the delay is eating away at Merkel’s influence domestically and internationally.

In Germany, there is talk about the autumn of her reign, even if no serious candidate has emerged to rival her.

“Each additional day where she has to content herself with being just a caretaker chancellor weakens her, and the longer the negotiations go on, the more the population’s discontent grows,” said Die Zeit weekly.



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