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1ST LEAD German SPD leader wants finance ministry in would-be Merkel coalition By Friederike Heine, dpa

Europe
18.12.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Berlin (dpa) - Martin Schulz, the leader of the centre-left Social Democrats, has told party members that he is hoping to capture the prestigious finance portfolio in a new coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s conservatives.

Schulz, who initially vowed to go into opposition after his party suffered record-low election results, has agreed to enter talks with Merkel‘s Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian ally, the Christian Social Union (CSU), despite strong opposition in the base.

However, party sources confirmed to dpa a report in Handelsblatt newspaper that Schulz had told colleagues "the finance ministry is the goal" in coalition talks with Merkel‘s bloc.

CDU veteran Wolfgang Schaeuble gave up the finance portfolio when he was recently appointed as the president of the Bundestag parliament. The role is currently being carried out by Peter Altmaier, Merkel‘s chief of staff, on an interim basis.

In an effort to appease critics, Schulz has suggested two untried arrangements with Merkel‘s bloc, including a coalition that would allow the SPD to dissent on some issues, and another whereby the SPD would support certain efforts by a minority Merkel government.

But Merkel ruled out those options during a press conference on Monday, saying that only a traditional grand coalition would provide the stability that Germany needs.

 

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