Germany could have new government this week after long-running talks

HAMBURG, Germany — Parties have reached a deal on forming a new coalition government that’s likely to include both former center-left chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and the Greens, likely ending a decade of austerity and…

Germany could have new government this week after long-running talks

HAMBURG, Germany — Parties have reached a deal on forming a new coalition government that’s likely to include both former center-left chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and the Greens, likely ending a decade of austerity and Merkel’s era in the Chancellery, the German news agency DPA said Tuesday.

With 611 of 620 seats in the lower house of parliament, the People’s Party of the Social Democrats (SPD) of Merkel’s successor as chancellor, Horst Seehofer, is likely to return to power in a coalition that could last for four years, DPA said citing sources close to the talks.

Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Christian Social Union (CSU) would sit together in the new coalition, it said. The Social Democrats will be the junior partner in the coalition that Merkel has long dominated.

In a report based on estimates from political advisers that DPA called “consistent with prior, successful legislative proposals,” DPA said that the talks with the Social Democrats had made “considerable progress” and would be agreed on within 24 hours.

“‘We stand for ‘Ressentäule (open society)’ and ‘Rundfunk (renewal)’ and the strength and durability of our democratic base will have to be sustained,” Seehofer said in a statement.

The statement followed political leaders meeting at 10 a.m. local time in the federal chancellery, the seat of German government, to try to thrash out a deal.

Seehofer called an end to weeks of talks because “necessary compromises cannot be carried out in those hours.”

One of the principal stumbling blocks in the talks has been the question of the future of Seehofer. On Sunday, he told a party conference in Bavaria that he may not join another “grand coalition” in the future with the SPD, preferring to take his party into opposition.

On Monday, SPD leaders met to talk with representatives of the CDU, CSU and Social Democrats on the coalition talks.

The leaders of the Free Democrats (FDP) and Greens’ left wing said that the work of the parties was “stale,” and called for a change of direction.

“A centrist government with a powerful center-right party is no longer possible,” said Ulrich Grillo, the leader of the FDP, commenting on the steps of the talks.

He called on Seehofer to put an end to the seven-month negotiation process and hinted that the FDP would consider going into opposition.

“It’s important that the winners get to look after themselves. Our goal is to return to the Bundestag,” Grillo said.

The Christian Social Union (CSU) of Bavaria had put the atmosphere into negative gear in the meeting by declaring that they were for a broader government “with the center-left.”

The CSU will call for the alliance with the Social Democrats to be put to a vote in the CSU’s general assembly on Sept. 23.

A new government coalition, including Seehofer, was feasible if the parties could reach common ground over Austria and Italy, another report said.

A government coalition that featured both parties is seen as “formidable” and offers “a substantial change from the coalition of the past 10 years,” the Passauer Neue Presse newspaper said.

“The negotiating rounds are stretching out so long — seven months — because they are too difficult,” Christian Lindner, the leader of the liberal Free Democrats (FDP), told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper.

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