German president summons grand coalition partners for talks

 (Reuters) - Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) appeared close to dropping their opposition to renewing cooperation with Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday, with a planned summit between the two camps seemingly offering a way out of a political impasse.
FILE PHOTO - German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier meets Social Democratic Party (SPD) leader Martin Schulz in Berlin, Germany, November 24, 2017. REUTERS/Jesco Denzel/BPA/Handout via REUTERS
The apparent volte-face by the SPD, which had said it would go into opposition after suffering its worst result in 70 years in a September election, makes it less likely that a new vote will be necessary in Europe’s economic and political powerhouse.
Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he would host a meeting between the leaders of Merkel’s conservative camp and SPD leader Martin Schulz next week to discuss the situation following the collapse of talks on a three-way coalition.
The announcement followed hours of talks among the SPD leadership that lasted into the small hours of Friday after Schulz returned from a one-to-one meeting with Steinmeier, who has suggested fresh elections are a last resort.
“After serious discussions, we agreed that after the collapse of exploratory talks between the conservatives, the Greens and the Free Democrats, the SPD will work constructively to find a way out of this situation,” an SPD statement read.
The SPD has been under growing pressure to drop their opposition to a renewed “grand coalition” with Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Christian Social Union (CSU) Bavarian allies after September’s election.
The SPD have governed in coalition under Merkel since 2013, and that government remains in place in a caretaker role. But Schulz had said his party must heed the will of voters by going into opposition.
Merkel is facing the biggest political crisis of her career since efforts to forge a three-way coalition with the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) and ecologist Greens collapsed last weekend. That has raised worries across Europe of prolonged uncertainty in the world’s fourth biggest economy.
German president summons grand coalition partners for talks German president summons grand coalition partners for talks Reviewed by Alexander Von Stern on 04:32:00 Rating: 5