Monday 17 December 2018

Grassroots Social Democrats reject German ‘grand coalition’

Coalition talks with smaller parties have already broken down.

The chairman of the Social Democratic Party, Martin Schulz (AP)
The chairman of the Social Democratic Party, Martin Schulz (AP)

By Paul McGurk

The head of Germany’s centre-left Social Democrats is lobbying party members to vote for opening coalition talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives amid strong opposition from grassroots members.

Martin Schulz is in Dortmund to push for approval of the formal negotiations with the Union bloc at a party convention on Sunday.

A rejection of talks would be a setback for both Mr Schulz and Mrs Merkel, who has already failed to forge a coalition with two smaller parties.

The Social Democrats and the Union bloc, who have governed Germany in a “grand coalition” since 2013, suffered heavy losses in September’s national election.

In non-binding votes, Social Democrats in the smaller states of Berlin and Saxony-Anhalt have indicated they will vote against opening coalition talks, while party members in Brandenburg voted in favour.

Press Association

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