Merkel, rival meet German president amid gov't deadlock

Posted December 04, 2017

The leader of the Social Democrats (SPD) Martin Schulz leaves after a joint meeting with Horst Seehofer, the head of the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) and Chancellor Angela Merkel, hosted by the German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, in Schloss Bellevue in Berlin, Germany, November 30, 2017.

The chairman said the SPD's executive committee would discuss various options on Monday, and make a proposal which would be discussed at SPD's party conference from December 7 to 9 in Berlin.

Following first talks with Merkel late on Thursday, Schulz said he would recommend that the SPD begin formal discussions with her conservatives but firmly denied a media report this meant he was committing to joining a new government.

He denied he had agreed to a re-run of the conservative alliance that has ruled Germany for the last four years and added that forming another such coalition was "not automatic".

"The majority (of the SPD) is against a new grand coalition", she told the General-Anzeiger and Rhein-Zeitung newspapers in an interview to be published Saturday. He said Social Democrat (SPD) leaders would make a proposal on Monday on how to proceed.

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Such cities often do not use municipal funds or resources to enforce federal immigration laws. Prosecutors said the verdict was not what they had hoped for, but they respect the decision.

The unusually testy tone Schulz struck is a reflection of the differences between conservatives and Social Democrats not just over the policies of a possible grand coalition, but whether even to try to form one at all. A resolution should then be formed at the party congress in the coming week.

Germany's new government is still in vacancy after the September 24 federal elections and the exploratory talks between the Union, the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the Greens broke down on the night of November 19. "As before, I remain sceptical that you can do that by carrying on "business as usual" in a grand coalition".

Turkish officials say President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has held a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel as the two countries try to fix frayed ties.

"The way for a grand coalition has been paved", Mohring told Reuters after taking part in a teleconference where Merkel had briefed the CDU federal board on Thursday night's talks with Schulz and the president.