Merkel appears set for second term

GERMANY’S Free Democrats rejected overtures from the Social Democrats yesterday and indicated they would stay in opposition if they were unable to form a centre-right coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

A week before a federal election, the FDP made clear that they would not be part of a three-way coalition with the Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens – seemingly the only combination that could deny Merkel a second term in office.

Over the weekend, leaders of the centre-left SPD softened their tone towards the pro-business FDP, hoping to leave the door open to a so-called “traffic light” coalition – named after the parties’ colours – with the Greens after the September 27 vote.

But the FDP, which is trying to end a record 11-year run in opposition, agreed at a party congress in Potsdam to reject that option after weeks of pressure from Merkel’s conservatives.

“Because the manifestos of the SPD and the Greens will raise the burden on the taxpayer, we Free Democrats are not available to help the SPD and Greens get a majority,” said the statement agreed by FDP head Guido Westerwelle and other party leaders.


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