BERLIN – Germany’s social democrat leader Martin Schulz said on Monday he would recommend to his party that it open coalition negotiations with the Christian conservative bloc led by the chancellor in order to put an end to the current political impasse born from inconclusive federal elections.
At a press conference, Schulz said he would take the occasion at the next Social Democrat Party (SPD) congress, slated to kick off on Thursday, to propose that his center-left formation sit down with the Christian Democrat coalition (CDU/CSU) of Angela Merkel with all options on the discussion table, including the ability to walk away.
Any agreement that is struck, which could include a deal to prop up a minority government or even re-enter a so-called grand coalition, would be subject to a party vote, Schulz reiterated.
The SPD chief, who has previously served as President of the European Parliament, said he would approach any negotiations with a social democratic agenda.
The three-day party conference at the end of the week is expected to be turbulent as it provides an opportunity for the party’s diverse factions to present their points of view regarding the possibility of re-igniting the coalition they had with Merkel until their historic losses in the Sept. 24 inconclusive federal election.
As the results became clear following that ballot, Schulz was quick to rule out a power-sharing deal with Merkel, vowing instead to enter into the opposition in the Bundestag, the lower house of parliament.
But as talks collapsed between Merkel, a small business-friendly party and the Greens, Schulz was prompted to reassess his position by Germany’s president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
German parties were left facing the possibility of a repeat election after absolute majority shares and obvious coalition agreements were eroded by a surge in the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), which would become the main opposition should the grand coalition make a return.