SPD calls for new elections if talks fail amid differing views on Turkey

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published 29.10.2017 17:05
emEPA Photo/em
EPA Photo

The formation of a new government in Germany hit another roadblock over the weekend after Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) Martin Schulz suggested that new elections should be held "if the negotiations [between future coalition members] failed."

The crisis deepened as Germany's relationship with Turkey continued to remain a focal point of the discussion between the Christian Democratic Union (CDU/CSU), the Green Party, and the Free Democratic Party (FDP).

A number of other key questions, including environmental issues, social equality, education, internal affairs, security, economy, taxes and foreign policy have so far dogged the negotiations that will likely continue until a compromise was reached.

Meanwhile, Turkey's accession to the European Union has also been one of the major talking points.

The CSU has signaled that it will insist on suspending Turkey's full accession talks. The party Secretary General Andreas Scheuer said, "We do not want Turkey to join the EU, we want the negotiations to be stopped."

The Green Party, on the other hand, was somewhat opposed to the idea, as evident in its General Secretary Michael Kellner's recent comments when he said, "As the greens, we think that cutting the EU negotiations with Turkey will definitely be a wrong signal. But it is true that the negotiations are now frozen."

Co-Chair of the Greens, Cem Özdemir, also rejected the CSU's suggestion, saying, "There is a consensus on the strengthening of Europe, but there are still big differences between the partners in detail."

Migration was another diving issue as the CSU has set forth a condition of capping the number of migrants entering Germany each year to 200,000. Bavaria has so far borne the brunt of refugee arrivals through its southern border with Austria.

German Chancellor Merkel has long rejected the CSU's signature demand of a cast-iron limit of 200,000 refugees a year.

The FDP and the Greens, on the other hand, are against such a cap, arguing that it was against the constitutional rules on asylum.

Now, Merkel is left with no choice but to find common ground with the FDP and the Greens, if she is to run the country for another four years, after SPD leader Schulz ruled out joining negotiation talks with the CDU/CSU to form another "big coalition" that was in power between 2013 and 2017.

In the Sept. 24 elections, the CDU and CSU received over 33 percent of the votes, maintaining their status as the biggest party in the parliament.

It was followed by the SDP with 20 percent, which marked the party's worst election results in the postwar era.

The FDP recorded a remarkable increase in votes, racking up almost 10 percent of the votes while some 9 voters went with the Greens.

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