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SPD says ready for talks on new coalition government in Germany

Germany’s Social Democrats party (SPD) has announced its readiness to open talks with conservatives led by Chancellor Angela Merkel to form a new coalition government.

SPD chief Martin Schulz said Monday that the party was waiting for a congress of Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and its sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), this weekend to see if the chancellor would be given the green light to begin coalition talks.

After suffering losses to the far-rights in the September general elections, the socialists decided to break a “grand coalition” with the conservatives that had ruled Germany since 2013. However, the SPD dropped its pledge after Merkel failed to form an untested three-way coalition with the Greens and the Free Democrats.

Now, Merkel faces an even bigger task of persuading her allies in the CSU to accept SPD’s conditions. The CSU, known as an arch-conservative party, is planning to adopt a more anti-refugee policy in the next regional elections in Bavaria as it fears losing more votes to the far-right, nationalist parties who rose in the German politics by capitalizing on the cons of Merkel’s liberal asylum policy.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives to be offered three newly erected Christmas trees at the Chancellery on November 30, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

That could cause serious troubles as the Social Democrats have urged Merkel to be friendlier toward refugees and their rights to reunion with their families.

The SPD insists many of more than a million refugees who were allowed into Germany by Merkel in 2015 would be better integrated if reunited with their families. But the conservatives plan to extend a ban on the right to family reunions for some asylum seekers.

Merkel, a very popular politician in Germany, has ruled the country since 2005 and is seeking a fourth term in office.

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