Merkel: Stability for Germany main goal in coalition talks
BERLIN (AP) — Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday she is committed to moving ahead with initial talks on trying to forge a coalition government with the center-left Social Democrats, following the failure of negotiations with two smaller parties, adding that stability is her priority.
Merkel told reporters after a meeting with her party leaders that her conservative bloc was “prepared to take responsibility” of government again, while acknowledging that compromise would be necessary.
“For us it is important that we achieve stability for our country, and that we are the anchor of that stability,” she said.
Talks between Merkel’s conservative bloc and two smaller parties to form a previously untried coalition collapsed a week ago. The Social Democrats — Merkel’s partners in the outgoing government — initially refused to consider a repeat coalition, but said Friday they’re open to holding talks.
Merkel, the leader of her Bavarian-only sister Christian Social Union, Horst Seehofer, and Social Democratic leader Martin Schulz are due to meet together with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Thursday.
Merkel said she was happy to talk with the Social Democrats, her current coalition partner in government, and hopes to be able to “form a stable government.”
Earlier in the day, a leading member of Merkel’s Christian Democrats suggested preliminary coalition talks with the Social Democrats will likely only take place at the beginning of next year.
Julia Kloeckner, a deputy leader of the Christian Democrats, said on public television ARD that thoroughness is more important than speed.
If Merkel can’t put together a coalition, the only options would be a minority government or a new election, months after the Sept. 24 vote.