Collapse of German coalition talks underlines Merkel’s weaknesses

The Guardian reports: After exploratory talks to form Germany’s next government collapsed in dramatic fashion shortly before midnight on Sunday, the culprit was quickly found: Christian Lindner, the cocksure leader of the pro-business Free Democratic party (FDP) who had staged a well-orchestrated walkout, makes an all-too convincing villain of the piece.

But in the coming weeks German media will have to ask whether the real reason for the political paralysis in Europe’s biggest economy ultimately lies with another politician: Angela Merkel, the incumbent chancellor.

Merkel’s party colleagues and Green politicians had unanimously pointed their fingers at Lindner on Sunday night, insisting they had seen sufficient common ground for a compromise. Some of them voiced suspicions that the pro-business party had never really believed in their political enterprise in the first place.

Exactly which of his party’s red lines the coalition talks had overstepped, Lindner has been unable to convincingly explain. Green party co-leader Katrin Göring-Eckardt on Monday claimed that the FDP had called off the talks in spite of victories in key policy areas. In a country where political stability is valued as highly as it is in Germany, accusations of recklessness could haunt the traditional ally to Merkel’s CDU for years to come. [Continue reading…]

The Guardian reports: Germany’s president is to meet party leaders after talks to form a new government between Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc, the left-leaning Greens and pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) broke down at the weekend.

The collapse of coalition talks poses the most serious threat to Merkel’s position since she became chancellor more than a decade ago.

The president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, has called on political leaders to rethink their positions and try again to form a government. He will meet the leaders of the Greens and FDPon Tuesday. [Continue reading…]

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