Germany: Merkel’s party rejects full overhaul of coalition

International

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, and Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, right, Defence Minister and chairwoman of the German Christian Democratic Union CDU, shake hands as they arrive for a meeting of the German federal parliament, Bundestag, at the Reichstag building in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

BERLIN (AP) — Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party is rejecting a root-and-branch renegotiation of the agreement underpinning Germany’s government after the junior coalition partner elected leaders who want new concessions, but it was unclear Monday how acute the risk is of the coalition falling apart.

Members of the center-left Social Democrats on Saturday chose left-leaning duo Norbert Walter-Borjans and Saskia Esken as their new leaders. They rejected a rival team that included Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz and strongly favored staying in Merkel’s coalition.

Walter-Borjans and Esken are more skeptical, though they haven’t advocated a quick exit. They have suggested renegotiating issues such as the level of the minimum wage, climate protection and investment, but it’s unclear how far their demands will go.

A party congress starting Friday is likely to show what the Social Democrats want to achieve to stay in the coalition, nearly two years before the next election is due. The party is mired in a long-term poll slump, which some blame on its status as Merkel’s junior partner for 10 of the past 14 years.

Merkel’s Union bloc has made clear that it sees no need for a significant overhaul. The coalition deal thrashed out last year features a provision for a midterm review including consideration of whether “new plans must be agreed in light of current developments.”

The leader of Merkel’s center-right Christian Democratic Union, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, told ZDF television Monday the new leadership doesn’t amount to a major change “as a result of which we have to completely renegotiate a coalition.”

The coalition agreement “is the basis on which we are working, and it is valid for the whole parliamentary term,” she said. “We are concentrating on dedicating ourselves to work of substance — we are not a therapy facility for the coalition parties.”

She noted that both the other parties in the coalition have changed their leaders since the government took office without demanding a renegotiation.

While she and other conservatives are firmly ruling out a radical renegotiation, it’s possible that there may be some room for talks that fall short of that — and unlikely that the Union will want to be seen as responsible for the coalition collapsing.

Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, also made clear that the chancellor is willing to talk about new ideas “as is usual in a coalition, but a renegotiation of the coalition agreement is not pending.”

If the Social Democrats did decide to walk out, it’s unclear what would happen. Merkel’s bloc could seek to carry on in a minority government or, theoretically at least, negotiate an alternative coalition; or the result could eventually be an early election.

Merkel has said that this is her last term and she won’t run in the next election, currently due in the fall of 2021.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Clear

Abbeville

56°F Clear Feels like 56°
Wind
5 mph SE
Humidity
92%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

Partly cloudy this evening with more clouds for overnight. Low 54F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph.
60°F Partly cloudy this evening with more clouds for overnight. Low 54F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph.
Wind
5 mph S
Precip
10%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Waxing Gibbous
Scattered Clouds

Crowley

58°F Scattered Clouds Feels like 58°
Wind
9 mph SE
Humidity
94%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

Partly cloudy skies this evening will become overcast overnight. Low 56F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph.
60°F Partly cloudy skies this evening will become overcast overnight. Low 56F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph.
Wind
6 mph S
Precip
20%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Waxing Gibbous
Clear

Opelousas

57°F Clear Feels like 57°
Wind
6 mph SSE
Humidity
90%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

Partly cloudy skies early will give way to cloudy skies late. Low 56F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph.
60°F Partly cloudy skies early will give way to cloudy skies late. Low 56F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph.
Wind
8 mph S
Precip
20%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Waxing Gibbous
Clear

Breaux Bridge

58°F Clear Feels like 58°
Wind
5 mph S
Humidity
87%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

Mostly clear early followed by cloudy skies overnight. Low 56F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph.
60°F Mostly clear early followed by cloudy skies overnight. Low 56F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph.
Wind
6 mph S
Precip
20%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Waxing Gibbous
Clear

New Iberia

54°F Clear Feels like 54°
Wind
5 mph SSE
Humidity
100%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

Mostly clear this evening then becoming mostly cloudy after midnight. Low around 55F. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph.
57°F Mostly clear this evening then becoming mostly cloudy after midnight. Low around 55F. Winds SSE at 5 to 10 mph.
Wind
8 mph SSE
Precip
20%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Waxing Gibbous

Sidebar

Trending Stories