Greens 'deeply sceptical' of 3-way coalition under Merkel

21st September 2005, Comments 0 comments

21 September 2005, BERLIN - Christian Democrat leader Angela Merkel suffered a setback Wednesday in her fight to become Germany's next chancellor when Germany's Greens expressed "deep scepticism" at the possibility of joining a three-way coalition under her leadership.

21 September 2005

BERLIN - Christian Democrat leader Angela Merkel suffered a setback Wednesday in her fight to become Germany's next chancellor when Germany's Greens expressed "deep scepticism" at the possibility of joining a three-way coalition under her leadership.

"We want to hold exploratory talks, but these are not coalition negotiations," Greens co-chairperson Claudia Roth said of an invitation from Merkel to hold talks Friday.

"There is deep scepticism," she added. "We Greens have made clear that policies come before power," she said.

Merkel, whose CDU/CSU alliance secured a narrow margin of three parliamentary seats over Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats (SPD) in Sunday's elections, is aiming at a coalition with the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) and the Greens.

German politics have been deadlocked since the election in which neither Schroeder's current SPD-Greens government nor Merkel's desired CDU/CSU alliance with the FDP won a majority.

Leaders of Merkel's party are carefully gearing up a charm offensive aimed at the Greens. But so far they have met with little apparent success.

Greens co-leader Reinhard Buetikofer, while reticent about Merkel, was sharply critical of the FDP and its chairman, Guido Westerwelle.

"Westerwelle personifies the market radical view," he said. "There can be no compromise; the FDP will have to jump over its own shadow."

Buetikofer said the Greens were prepared to go into opposition. "We have always said that opposition is an option for us... We won't compromise on the content of our policies."

He warned that the Greens would never allow themselves to be used to introduce "through the back door" a set of neo-liberal policies as sought by the FDP.

Roth and Buetikofer were speaking to journalists after emerging from a meeting with the SPD, with whom they have governed Germany as junior coalition partners for the past seven years.

SPD chairman Franz Muentefering indicated that his party's preferred option was to continue in government under Schroeder, drawing the FDP into a coalition alongside the Greens.

He criticised the FDP for refusing even to hold exploratory talks with the SPD - but was careful to avoid any personal attacks.

Muentefering accused the liberals of taking an irresponsible attitude in the light of an election outcome that denied a majority to both the SPD-Greens coalition and the centre-right alliance of the CDU/CSU with the FDP.

*sidebar1*"We will talk to all the parties, with the exception of the Left Party," Muentefering said in reference to the former East German communists who have merged with a western protest group.

SPD leaders are to hold talks with CDU/CSU Thursday, and Muentefering said Schroeder would be present at the talks with Merkel.

Following the elections, the CDU/CSU has 225 seats in the Bundestag, the lower house of the German parliament, against 222 for the SDP.

The third-largest force is the FDP with 61, followed by the Left with 54 and the Greens with 51 seats.

With all other parties rejecting a coalition with the Left, the only options for a parliamentary majority are a 'grand coalition' of the CDU/CSU with the SPD or a three-way coalition.

DPA

Subject: German news

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