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SPD-CDU talks and LOTS of speculation

by whataboutbob Thu Sep 22nd, 2005 at 03:56:02 AM EST

UPDATE After searching through news services, there is more speculative information in the comments

So now the serious discussions really begin: German rivals to hold talks

Thursday's meeting is the first between the rival candidates since the election and is unlikely to produce a breakthrough, reports the BBC's Ray Furlong in Berlin.

He says a so-called grand coalition between the Social Democrats and Christian Democrats is still regarded as a likely eventual resolution to the crisis.

However, such a deal could take weeks to be struck and may propel a compromise candidate to the top job.

If no deal is reached, another election may have to be held - probably in 2006.

Here is some more news on the status of other possible coalitions:

On Wednesday, the Social Democrats held talks with their current partners in government, the Greens, over a future coalition.

But in order to secure a majority, the Social Democrats will also need to entice the liberal Free Democrat party into a coalition - a plan not favoured by the Greens. On Friday, Mrs Merkel's party will meet the Greens for coalition talks. (...)

The Free Democrats, who are closer to Mrs Merkel's Christian Democrats, have dismissed the possibility of any pact with the Social Democrats.

The co-chairman of the Greens, Reinhard Buetikofer, has said he cannot picture joining a coalition led by Ms Merkel.

Mr Buetikofer said the Christian Democrats and Free Democrats both appear to be "searching for an auxiliary motor that would help them, with a majority in parliament, find a way into the chancellery for policies that did not win a majority from voters".
"We are not going to provide this back door," he said.

So, based on these statements, it looks like it is shaping up to be a Grand Coalition, with a leader other than Schroeder or Merkel...or a new election.

What do you think is going to happen? Who would be that "other" leader of the Grand Coalition, if it were not to be Schroeder or Merkel?

I'm curious to hear from our German commentators here, but it really does sound like we are headed for a "Grand Coalition"...IF, Merkela and Schroeder can figure out who will lead. To be a fly on the wall of that conversation...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Thu Sep 22nd, 2005 at 05:18:42 AM EST
Here are some snippets from today's Independent:


This first part is specualtion:

the talks seem destined to fail. The Social Democrats refused to back down from their insistence that Mr Schröder should remain chancellor in a grand coalition while Mrs Merkel remained equally adamant that she should be given the job.

"[Schröder] will not succeed in forcing us to give up our right to lead the next government," Ms Merkel said.

And then there is this:

At the same time, Chancellor Schröder's Social Democrats started an uphill battle to win over the small but influential liberal Free Democratic Party as partners to join them in a so-called "traffic light" coalition government with the Greens. Otto Schily, the SPD Interior Minister, urged the liberals to drop their outright opposition to a "traffic light" alliance. "Much of our agenda fits the liberals much more than the conservatives. The FDP's position is premature," he said.

The liberals, who have categorically ruled out any coalition with the Greens and Mr Schröder's party, refused even to respond to the SPD's bidding yesterday.

The Greens dampened the SPD's hopes even further by saying that they had "major reservations" about joining forces with the FDP.

So what this all seems to me to sound like, even though it is still all speculation, is new elections in 2006...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Thu Sep 22nd, 2005 at 09:26:31 AM EST
here's some more speculation from today's IHT


Schröder party hints at Free Democrat alliance  By Judy Dempsey International Herald Tribune

(...)Franz Müntefering, one of Schröder's most adept party organizers, was giving nothing away Wednesday about Schröder's future except to say that he wanted to remain chancellor. After holding talks with the Greens, Müntefering said, "We spoke about the possibility of such a coalition with the Free Democrats. We all know that we need a third party to form a stable government."

The Free Democrats won 9.8 percent of Sunday's vote and have 61 seats in the Bundestag, or Parliament. If the party were to join such a Schröder-led center-left coalition, the resulting grouping of 334 seats would have a comfortable working majority in the 613-member Bundestag.(...)

But there were big differences between the Free Democrats and Greens over several issues, particularly environmental and tax policy.

Yet inside the Free Democrat party of professionals, entrepreneurs and managers of privately owned businesses, there are already rumblings taking place over strategy, whether the party should be more flexible in choosing its coalition partners and personnel questions.(...)

If the Greens opt for going into opposition, then Merkel's chances for becoming chancellor would all but disappear. "Her only chance is with a traffic-light coalition," a senior Christian Democrat said.(...)

"The point is that Schröder and his Social Democrats will not join a grand coalition under Merkel," the official said. "If all the other coalition possibilities have been explored, there is no option but for the Christian Democrats and Social Democrats to form a grand coalition. For that to happen, Schröder and Merkel would withdraw and hand over the reins to others."

Klaus Wowereit, the Social Democratic mayor of Berlin, already suggested this possibility in a television interview. "Under certain circumstances," he said, "the Social Democrats would enter a grand coalition without Schröder."

Wowereit did not say who would replace Schröder, but there was speculation it could be Peer Steinbrück, the former Social Democratic premier of the western industrial state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Wowereit did not say under what circumstances Schröder would resign. His comments, however, confirmed some of what party leaders were thinking.
 The senior Social Democrat said that Schröder, "after having shown he had tried to form a coalition with the smaller parties but had failed, would resign and agree to a grand coalition but only on condition that Merkel did the same."

Also, if Merkel resigns, that might bring into play DoDo's Nightmare scenario, from the Right (see his diary on that).

Stayed tuned!!

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Thu Sep 22nd, 2005 at 10:31:07 AM EST
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