Laschet Fights for German Chancellor Bid With Coalition Push
(Bloomberg) -- Armin Laschet, the embattled head of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic party, will meet with potential coalition partners in the coming days as he fights for a chance to form a new government despite a crushing election defeat.
A delegation from the conservative bloc, including the Bavarian CSU sister party, will meet on Sunday with the Free Democrats and on Tuesday with the Greens, CDU Secretary General Paul Ziemiak said at a press conference in Berlin on Thursday.
“It makes sense to speak about whether it’s possible to forge an alliance for the future” between the three groups, he said. “We’re heading into the talks seriously and with openness.”
The meetings weren’t unanimously backed by the CDU leadership, with Saxony’s Premier Michael Kretschmer proposing to wait for the outcome of talks with the Social Democrats, according to Ziemiak.
Laschet is struggling to maintain his authority over the conservative bloc after it crashed to its worst result in postwar Germany, plunging below 30% for the first time. The SPD narrowly beat them, putting Olaf Scholz in pole position to succeed Merkel as chancellor.
The CSU will help prepare for the meetings. Markus Soeder, the Bavarian party’s leader who has said the bloc doesn’t have a mandate to form a government after coming in second to the Social Democrats, will take part.
The pro-business Free Democrats, which placed fourth in the vote, had said on Wednesday that the two groups would meet on Saturday, but the meeting was pushed back because of scheduling conflicts involving the CSU leader.
The conservatives’ efforts to reach out to the FDP and the Greens are a signal that Laschet is resisting calls for his resignation, said a CDU official, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private. Ziemiak didn’t respond to a question about whether the talks could continue without Laschet.
After initial talks on Tuesday, the FDP and the Greens will continue discussions in a wider circle on Friday. Both parties -- which would be needed by Scholz or the conservatives to secure a majority in parliament -- will speak separately with the SPD on Sunday.
By scheduling their own talks, the conservatives are showing that they are seeking to remain a viable option to lead a ruling coalition.
Jens Spahn, a deputy CDU leader and an influential figure among the party’s younger generation, on Thursday backed Laschet to lead the exploratory coalition talks, saying they should be concluded by mid-October.
Despite the support, Spahn said it’s time for the “post-Angela Merkel generation” -- which includes himself and figures such as Saxony’s Kretschmer and Schleswig-Holstein Premier Daniel Guenther -- to take on more responsibility. Spahn and Guenther will be part of the CDU delegation, according to Ziemiak.
“We have more political talent and high-profile political personalities in this generation than any other party, but that needs to be clearly on display,” Spahn said in an interview with Deutschlandfunk radio. “It’s about the 2025 project, when the goal is to have 100 additional lawmakers instead of 50 fewer.”
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