Merkel Has One Day Left To Form New Gov’t Or Face New Election

REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel is scrambling to form a new government by the Friday deadline to avoid another election.

Merkel is set for a fourth term as chancellor when her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) won the general election Sept. 24. The party has been stuck in negotiations with potential coalition partners for nearly two months without agreeing on a common platform.

The task of forming the country’s first-ever three-way coalition has been more difficult than expected. Merkel’s conservatives picked the Green party and the pro-business Free Democrats as the primary option for the new government.

The trio have failed to agree on issue regarding the environment, immigration and military spending. Despite reported progress in recent days, a new election has emerged as a serious alternative with time running out.

CDU has proposed an upper limit of 200,000 refugee arrivals per year. The Greens are firmly opposed to this idea as they believe family reunification should be available for all refugees. The Free Democrats are opposed to the Greens’ demands when it comes to Germany’s carbon footprint, arguing it would put hundreds of thousands of jobs in danger. The Greens are also opposed to Merkel’s plans to boost military spending closer to two percent of the country’s gross domestic product over the next few years. They instead want some of that money earmarked for ecological and digital projects.

Despite the disagreements, all parties are confident that they’ll be able to reach a deal before the deadline.

“We’re in the final stretch and have to see how we can reach the finish line,” Katrin Goering-Eckardt, a co-leader of the Greens, told reporters Tuesday, according to Bloomberg. “There are big chunks ahead of us still. We’ve come here with the will to negotiate, but we’ve also come with clear goals.”

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