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Friday, February 16, 2018

The German social Democrats gave the green light for talks with Merkel

In the political crisis at the end of the past year have faced Germany, there seems to be clearance. At the Congress of the Social democratic party of Germany on 21 January it was decided to start negotiations on forming a Grand coalition with the Christian democratic Union under the leadership of Angela Merkel. However, apparently, this process will not be easy, and for the leadership of the social Democrats there are new challenges.

photo: AP

The fourth victory of Angela Merkel in the parliamentary elections held in September last year, is not meant for technically victorious CDU/CSU-ending struggle and hard work. First, the conservatives attempted to form a governing coalition with “green” and liberals from the Free Democratic party, which, however, was a failure. Then the block of Angela Merkel was left with no option but to try to restore the “old friendship” with the social Democrats. Recall that the last government formed in 2013 was a “black-red” Alliance of conservatives and social Democrats.

So, on Sunday, January 21, the SPD expressed their will, 362 representative of the party voted in Congress in favor of forming a coalition. However, the 279 delegates expressed a desire to remain in opposition and to move closer to conservatives. The leader of the social Democrats Martin Schulz has expressed quite clearly his own position, saying: “We should not rule at any cost. But we must at all costs seek to rule.” He also reassured allies, stressing that he would defend the key points of the party program. However, after the September elections, Schultz, refusing to resign, saying that his party will be the voice of opposition in Parliament – now the situation has changed.

Apparently, Mr. Schultz has a good reason for such a steep change of position. On the eve of the party Congress, he toured the lands of Germany, during which urged party members to support the coalition. Nevertheless, the political future of the SPD is very vague, because, according to polls, the rating of the party falls on the background of discussions about the start of coalition talks with the CDU/CSU. It seems that the voters Schulz waiting for his intransigence and uncompromising staunch opposition.

“MK” asked for comment by the Deputy head of the Center for German studies, candidate of historical Sciences Ekaterina Timoshenkova.

What is the future for the SPD, given that not all party members support the idea of a coalition? Whether to wait for a split among the social Democrats into two camps?

– This is a difficult question, because, indeed, before, when the party voted to join some kind of coalition, the percentage of those who were “for” was always more. The current figure is really weak – and he says not only that the SPD is afraid to lose, to melt into that big coalition. But on specific issues, the party leader, Martin Schulz. In the process of negotiating other policies more compelling. There are also several mistakes made by Schultz, because he has twice abandoned the coalition in September, immediately after the election, and after the failure of the coalition of the conservatives with the greens and liberals. The result of the vote at the Congress says that in addition to doubts about joining the coalition, there is also great doubt about the future of Martin Schulz as leader of the social Democrats. Of course, the party must enter into negotiations, but dissatisfaction with the policy will be to acquire certain features and, most likely, will lead to the change of the head of the party.

– What if the positions of the CDU/CSU and SPD will be so irreconcilable that a coalition fails to form? Can the conservatives to take the unprecedented step to cooperate with the far-right “Alternative for Germany” that now seems fantastic?

– No cooperation with the “Alternative for Germany” is impossible. And what about the irreconcilable contradictions in terms of the program, the conservatives and the social Democrats very well complement each other, they have often been in the Grand coalition and conducted a fairly successful policy. Another thing is that the bonuses from this successful policy has always received Angela Merkel and the CDU. They initially had a strong programmatic contradictions and had artificially to develop them, so this coalition agreement and criticized for the fact that it is not a breakthrough. If we observe some political scandal, he will not be associated with a software inconsistency and inability to implement some political perspectives of specific people, such as Martin Schulz.

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