SPD repeats intention to leadgovernment with Schroeder

4th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

4 October 2005, BERLIN - A day before a third round of talks on forming a new German government, the head of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) reiterated Tuesday that the SPD sought to lead a coalition with conservatives and that Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder remained its standard-bearer. Speaking to Germany's ARD television, SPD Chairman Franz Muentefering said it would be a "big misunderstanding" if the Christian Democrats (CDU) and their allies expected otherwise. In inconclusive parliamentary elections

4 October 2005

BERLIN - A day before a third round of talks on forming a new German government, the head of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) reiterated Tuesday that the SPD sought to lead a coalition with conservatives and that Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder remained its standard-bearer.

Speaking to Germany's ARD television, SPD Chairman Franz Muentefering said it would be a "big misunderstanding" if the Christian Democrats (CDU) and their allies expected otherwise.

In inconclusive parliamentary elections on September 18, the CDU and CSU, its Bavaria-based sister party, won 225 seats compared to 222 for the SPD. The CDU/CSU picked up another seat in a by-election in Dresden on Sunday.

The two sides have held two rounds of exploratory talks on forming a 'grand coalition' between them, but both have insisted on providing the chancellor.

"We want Gerhard Schroeder, and we want our programme," Muentefering said, adding that a decision on who would be chancellor could only be made during formal coalition talks.

The CDU's general secretary, Volker Kauder, meanwhile repeated the conservatives' demand that the SPD accept the CDU's Angela Merkel as chancellor before negotiations begin. The SPD must "recognize realities", he told ARD.

On Monday, Schroeder had signalled a willingness to step down to make way for "a stable government", saying he would leave it up to the leaders of his party to decide whether it was time for him to do so.

But SPD leaders said after an impromptu meeting shortly afterward that they had urged Schroeder to stay on in a bid to strengthen the party's hand in negotiations with the CDU/CSU.

DPA

Subject: German news

0 Comments To This Article