1, March 2018
Germany’s Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, has called for new election if the members of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) say “No” to a new coalition with the conservative bloc.
The SPD’s 464,000 members are voting in a postal ballot on whether to approve a power-sharing deal with Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union of Germany party (CDU) and the CSU. The CDU/CSU bloc and the SPD have been coalition partners since 2013.
The result of the vote will be announced on Sunday.
Merkel was forced into coalition talks with the SPD after negotiations with two lesser-known parties failed last November following inconclusive general elections in September.
“If the second attempt at a government now fails, then we should have new elections,” the leader of the CSU, Horst Seehofer, told journalists in Munich on Wednesday, stressing that he was against a minority government.
Top officials from the CDU, CSU and SPD are scheduled to meet on Thursday, before the SPD vote ends, to settle outstanding issues on the formation of a coalition government, according to party sources.
The SPD members have until Friday to submit their votes.
The coalition deal between Merkel and the SPD came earlier in February, after weeks of tough negotiations, which saw Merkel relinquish the key ministry of finance to the coalition partners while offering other concessions over issues of immigration, health and tax.