Angela Merkel successor could be announced in DAYS as Germany nears coalition deal

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The European Union figurehead has stepped down as the country’s leader following the German elections, bringing an end to a 16-year reign leading one of the bloc’s most influential member states. But in one final crushing blow to Mrs Merkel, her Christian Democrats (CDU) were beaten into second place by the Social Democrats (SPD) whose Chancellor candidate, Olaf Scholz, putting the wheels in motion to form a coalition to replace the outgoing conservative-led Government.

The Green Party, which finished third in the election after winning 14.8 percent of the vote and 118 seats in the German Parliament, have been holding talks with the CDU, SPD and Free Democratic Party (FDP).

Following the last German election in 2017, talks over the formation of a coalition Government took several months, and there had been suggestions Mrs Merkel could remain in caretaker charge in the country if this process was repeated.

This time around, a three-party coalition has been discussed as a likely outcome, and now the Green’s chairmen have confirmed they want to follow this route with the SPD and FDP.

Speaking after the end of the first exploratory round of coalition talks, Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck said the Greens had come to the conclusion “now to continue to talk more deeply with the FDP and SPD”.

Ms Baerbock said: “We have always spoken respectfully, objectively, constructively and trustingly with all parties.”

She warned “the country cannot afford a long deadlock”, and following the crunch talks, they had made a firm decision.

FDP leader and chairman Christian Lindner has given the go-ahead to talks over a traffic light coalition, stating: We have accepted the proposal of a conversation with the SPD.

He confirmed the talks between the three parties will begin tomorrow (Thursday), and are aimed at examining similarities with the SPD.

Mr Lindner said: “Despite all the differences, the Greens and the FDP have consulted intensively and discreetly over the past ten days.

“The next step is now an exchange of ideas with three parties.”

The FDP leader added with the Union, there are the most overlaps in terms of content, and therefore a Jamaica coalition – a political pact between the CDU/CSU, FDP and Greens remains a “viable option”.

Mr Habeck had announced the talks that took place last week had shown the clearest overlaps in a traffic light alliance with the SPD and FDP.

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But he also insisted the interim decision from the Greens was “not yet a complete rejection of Jamaica”.

On Tuesday, delegations from the Union and Greens had met to explore the possibilities of forming a Jamaica coalition with the FDP.

The Union had been open to talks progressing, but the Greens co-chairs became increasingly unsure it would work.

In a press conference following the talks, Ms Baerbock said: “We spoke constructively and objectively”, but it had become clear in “socio-political areas” there is a great deal of divergence.

Mr Habeck also took a cautious approach, and said: “The conversation today was shaped by the initial situation that the SPD is ahead of the Union.

“The possible intersections have been explored, but there were also dividing lines.”

CDU leader Armin Laschet and CSU counterpart Markus Söder had presented themselves as being more positive over talks progressing further,

Mr Laschet said: “We believe that such an alliance would have a breadth in society that would make it possible to modernise the country in the next few years,” said Laschet.

CSU leader Mr Söder described exploration talks with the Greens “very constructive, but also very honest”.

Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.

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