Germany’s defeated Social Democrats are ready to hold preliminary talks to see if a coalition can be formed with Angela Merkel’s conservatives.
She needs a coalition partner because, despite trouncing the SPD in last Sunday’s general election, the Chancellor failed to win an absolute majority.
Amid polls suggesting the grassroots within the centre-left SPD opposes any such alliance, leader Sigmar Gabriel told a news conference in Berlin that party members would have the final say in a vote. “For the SPD just one thing is decisive” he said, insisting that Social Democrat policies would be central to the talks.
Defeated candidate Peer Steinbruck has said he will retire from frontline politics after what was the SPD’s second-worst postwar election performance.Among the general public in Germany, there is strong support for a so-called ‘grand coalition’ .