BERLIN – Germany’s conservative chancellor extended on Monday her hand to the country’s social democrats, inviting them to sit down to the negotiation table in a bid to form a coalition government and avoid instability in the European powerhouse.
Angela Merkel gave a press conference at her Christian Democratic Party (CDU) headquarters in Berlin following a meeting with senior colleagues just over a week after her discussions with the business-friendly FDP and the Greens collapsed, raising the prospect of repeat federal elections unless Germany’s second political force, the Social Democratic Party (SPD), step back into a grand coalition.
“For us, it is important to achieve stability in the country and to be the anchor of that stability,” Merkel told reporters in gathered in the capital.
She said stability was not only necessary for German citizens but also for the country to be able to confront issues at a European Union level, where European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker and France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, had several proposals pending a re-instituted leadership in Berlin.
Germany is regarded by them as one of the political and economic motors of the bloc.
The Chancellor downplayed ideological differences between her center-right CDU and the center-left SPD of Martin Schulz, insisting that both camps had always been able to work together on finding solutions.
Both parties were bedfellows in a grand coalition agreement until the inconclusive elections on Sept. 24, from which the SPD emerged bruised from its worst-ever result, while the CDU lost key ground to the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).
“To confront conflicts in the Middle East, the situation with Russia and the situation in the United States, we need an operational Germany,” Merkel said, alluding to her nation’s role in world affairs.
The German president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, has encouraged all parties to remain open to discussions to avoid repeat elections.
Steinmeier slated a meeting between Merkel, Horst Seehofer, leader of the Bavarian branch of the CDU, and Schulz on Thursday.
The SPD was initially reluctant to re-join a grand coalition, citing its poor performance in the last ballot, but, when requested by Steinmeier, Schulz agreed to consider entering discussion although warned that any final position would be subject to a party vote.