German Greens, FDP Hail ‘Good Start’ After More Coalition Talks
(Bloomberg) -- Germany’s Greens and Free Democrats signaled they’ve made further progress after their latest round of exploratory talks on joining a ruling coalition as junior partners.
Party officials met Friday in Berlin in an expanded format, and Greens’ co-leader Robert Habeck hailed “a very good start on the road toward forming a new government.”
“It’s certainly a huge achievement that in recent days we have fostered a culture which allows a fact-based discussion focused on the issues,” Habeck told reporters.
The two parties have contrasting policies in key areas like climate and finance, but are sounding each other out before deciding whether to join forces with Olaf Scholz’s Social Democratic Party or Armin Laschet’s conservative alliance.
Annalena Baerbock, the other co-leader of the Greens, said the parties have made “a small, first step,” while FDP Chairman Christian Lindner said the process had “begun in a good atmosphere but has not yet been concluded.”
“We are discussing how we can overcome what separates us, which bridges can be built,” said Lindner, who is a potential finance minister. “It’s now about trying to find these bridges.”
Scholz is well placed to succeed outgoing chancellor Angela Merkel after his SPD party narrowly defeated Laschet’s CDU/CSU bloc in Sunday’s election.
CDU Chairman Laschet, by contrast, has come under increasing pressure after support for the conservatives plunged below 30% for the first time in postwar Germany.
In a fresh blow to the North Rhine-Westphalia premier, a poll published Friday showed that nearly half of voters from Laschet’s own CDU/CSU alliance would pick Scholz to lead the next administration, while only 39% backed Laschet.
Almost two thirds of those surveyed by Forschungsgruppe Wahlen for public broadcaster ZDF said they think he should step down as CDU leader. Scholz was second only to Merkel in a gauge of voter approval of leading politicians, while Laschet was a long way behind in 10th.
Nearly 60% said a three-way coalition of SPD, Greens and FDP would be good for Germany, and only 24% said the same for a tie-up with the CDU/CSU replacing the SPD in a so-called “Jamaica” coalition -- named after the colors of the Caribbean nation’s flag. Overall, more than three-quarters prefer Scholz as chancellor and only 13% Laschet.
Markus Blume, general secretary of the Bavaria-based CSU, said Friday that a Jamaica option has a realistic chance. The CDU/CSU negotiating team is due to meet with FDP officials on Sunday and with the Greens on Tuesday, and the SPD will hold separate talks with the two smaller parties on Sunday.
“Jamaica has a chance, Jamaica is a chance and Jamaica also has charm,” Blume said at a news conference. “We want to do all we can to make sure the opportunity is taken in forthcoming talks.”
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