The German Social Democratic Party (SPD), the winner of last month’s national parliamentary election, said Wednesday they are holding talks with the Greens and the Free Democratic Party (FDP), who are third and fourth winners, respectively, to form a ruling coalition.
While still far from an agreement, the announcement brings SPD leader and Deputy Chancellor Olaf Scholz closer to leading Germany’s next government.
The SPD narrowly won over Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative German Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, 25.7% to 24.1% in the Sept. 26 election. It was the worst defeat ever experienced by Merkel’s ruling coalition.
But that narrow victory and the fact that neither party won a clear majority in parliament left room for the CDU to form a ruling coalition with one or both of the smaller parties. Immediately after the election, the Greens and the FDP agreed to meet with both parties and each other to see what could be negotiated.
On Wednesday, after initial talks last week with the top two parties, Green Party leaders said serious talks with SPD’s Scholz “make the most sense.” Another Green Party leader Robert Habeck told reporters that while much remains to be discussed, “last week’s talks demonstrated the greatest possible overlap, particularly in the broad area of social policy.”
FDP leader Christian Lindner confirmed the three-way talks could start on Thursday.
CDU leader Armin Laschet told reporters they were still open to further talks but that the decision rested with the two smaller parties.
When asked about her party’s chances on Wednesday while speaking to reporters at the EU summit in Slovenia, Merkel replied “the CDU didn’t get the best vote.” [my/ka]