Merkel Pressured To Keep Doors Open For Migrants To Stay In Power

REUTERS/Eric Vidal

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel is determined to avoid a snap election by seeking another “grand coalition” with the Social Democrats (SPD), but she might have to scrap a proposed cap on immigration to secure her fourth term in office.

Merkel’s decision to open the doors to migrants has shaken up German politics during the fall. Her party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), suffered its worst election result since the 1940s in September after some voters turned to anti-immigration party the Alternative for Germany (AfD) in protest of Merkel’s migrant policies. The chancellor is now struggling to form a new government because potential coalition partners disagree with her plans to put a cap on the annual immigration level. (RELATED: Merkel’s Poll Ratings At Record-Low After Failure To Form Government)

CDU agreed to start new talks Sunday with the Social Democrats before it calls a fresh election. The parties have ruled together over the past four years despite disagreements on key issues.

“We have the firm intention of forming an effective government,” Daniel Günther, the leader of the state of Schleswig Holstein, told reporters. “We firmly believe that this would not come from a minority government, but instead an alliance with a parliamentary majority. That is a grand coalition.”

Immigration is set to take a central role in coalition talks. Merkel wants to cap the annual migrant influx at 200,000, which SPD considers to be a breach of the German constitution. SPD argues people who suffer persecution for political reasons have a right to be protected regardless of how many people Germany has accepted in a given year.

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