German political factions have failed in their initial efforts to form a three-way coalition because of disagreements over environment, business, and migration policies.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel had set Thursday as the deadline for exploratory talks about forming a coalition government following elections on September 24.
Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU bloc won 246 seats; the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), 80 seats; and the left-leaning environment-friendly Green Party, 67 in those elections. There are currently 709 seats in the German legislative body, or the Bundestag.
The coalition government being negotiated is referred to as “Jamaica” because the parties’ colors match those of the Caribbean island country’s flag.
The exploratory talks of the three parties continued into the early hours of Friday. Later in the day, they announced that they had failed to find common ground to begin formal coalition negotiations.
The three parties said further talks would be postponed to Friday noon.
“We’ll continue at noon today,” said Winfried Kretschmann, a Greens negotiator and premier of the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, early on Friday.
The main sticking points between the groups are their different perspectives over climate, migration, and finances.
Conservative participants said some of those differences might not be resolved at all.
“I don’t know if we can resolve all the discrepancies, all the disagreements,” said Joachim Herrmann, a senior member of the CSU, the sister party of Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU).
Failure to clinch a deal could lead to new elections.
Alice Weidel, the co-leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), criticized the would-be coalition partners for failing to reach a deal, telling daily Die Welt, “If the (conservative) Union, FDP, and Greens don’t reach an agreement soon, there should be new elections.”
This is a scenario none of the negotiating parties would want, for fear that the far-right AfD could make further gains after already entering the parliament in the September 24 elections.
While Merkel is perceived as a skilled negotiator, the failure to form the coalition government has already been described as her loss.
“A failure of Jamaica would be her failure,” wrote the mass-circulation German daily Bild.