World Bulletin/News Desk
Leading members of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the Green Party are holding exploratory talks in Berlin today on the possibility of forming a coalition government.
The critical statements which came ahead of the meeting have already complicated the chances of an agreement but both sides promised to talk seriously.
“I am not very optimistic that these talks would lead to coalition negotiations, but in any case we will talk seriously,” said Winfried Kretschmann, the premier of Baden-Wuerttemberg and a key member of the negotiation team of the Greens.
Merkel’s CDU/CSU alliance and the Greens have deep differences on several key policy issues and the recent refugee tragedy in Lampedusa has further exposed divisions between the parties.
Row over asylum policy
Katrin Goering-Eckardt, the co-leader of the Greens' parliamentary group, harshly criticized the conservative interior minister Hans-Peter Friedrich on Wednesday due to his remarks on asylum policy following the Lampedusa tragedy. Goering-Eckardt said that these remarks has led to growing skepticism towards a coalition with the CDU/CSU alliance.
The Green Party favors pro-immigration reform and argues for accepting more refugees. Merkel’s conservatives however defend strict immigration rules and are against accepting more refugees.
Interior minister Friedrich argued early this week that most of the migrants coming from African countries were “economically” motivated, rather than being refugees in need of political asylum. He dismissed calls for accepting more refugees and urged for more strict measures against illegal immigration.
SPD is still the preferred option
Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its sister party Christian Social Union (CSU) have already disclosed that their preferred coalition partner would be the Social Democrats (SPD). But in the event of an undesirable outcome at the end of formal negotiations with the Social Democrats, the Greens may become an alternative for Merkel’s CDU/CSU alliance.
Merkel’s conservatives and their preferred coalition partner Social Democrats are expected to meet next Monday (October 14) for a “decisive” round of preliminary talks.
Last Mod: 10 Ekim 2013, 18:04