Merkel Fails To Form Gov’t By Deadline, Majority Of Germans Open To Snap Election

REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) had not agreed to a deal with potential coalition partners by the Friday deadline, as they remain far apart on key issues.

Talks have been extended and are expected to last through the weekend. If the parties still fail to reach an agreement, Germany could be headed for a snap election next year.

Negotiations between CDU, its sister party the Christian Social Union, the Green party and the pro-business Free Democrats have gone on for nearly two months. The three-way coalition, known as the “Jamaica” coalition, has failed to find common ground on issues regarding the environment, immigration and military spending.

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.

A ZDF poll released Friday shows that 68 percent of Germans, and a majority from all the parties involved, want a new election if the coalition fails. Merkel’s other options include a minority government, likely with the Greens, or a return to the coalition with the Social Democrats.

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