BERLIN (AP) — Germany, Europe’s largest economy and anchor of stability, is facing the prospect of months of political uncertainty after Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s conservatives were unable to form a coalition with two smaller parties, raising the likelihood of new elections.
Ms. Merkel said Monday that she was “very skeptical” about trying to forge ahead with a minority government — a setup that has never been tried in post-World War II Germany — after talks with the left-leaning Greens and pro-business Free Democrats broke down hours earlier. Her current coalition partner, the center-left Social Democrat party, has remained adamant it will go into opposition after a disastrous result in September’s election.
Even if it comes to new elections, a poll Monday for the broadcaster RTL indicated little change in support for the various parties, suggesting there would be similarly difficult prospects in forming a coalition.
Angela Merkel managed to overcome every challenge she's faced so far.
— dwnews (@dwnews) November 20, 2017
Immediately after the talks broke down just before midnight Sunday, Ms. Merkel pledged she would do everything possible to ensure Germany would continue to be well led. Later she said that while the situation was regrettable, “we nevertheless have stability in our country.”
Her comments came after President Frank-Walter Steinmeier appealed to political leaders to rethink their positions and try again to form a new government.
“We now face a situation that we haven’t had in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany, so in nearly 70 years,” Mr. Steinmeier told reporters after meeting Merkel. It is Steinmeier who will have to decide whether to pave the way for a minority government or call a new election.
“This is the moment at which all parties should pause and reconsider their position,” he said. “I expect from everyone readiness to talk, in order to make the formation of a government possible in the foreseeable future.”