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German Foreign Minister does not rule out continuation of coalition

Europe
20.08.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Berlin (dpa) - German Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has not categorically ruled out a continuation of the "grand coalition" between Angela Merkel‘s conservative bloc (CDU/CSU) and his own centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) beyond September‘s parliamentary election.

Ultimately, "neither the CDU/CSU nor us wants a continuation of the grand coalition," Gabriel told dpa in an exclusive interview, portions of which were released on Sunday.

"In the end, it‘s up to voters to decide, which is good in a democracy," Gabriel asserted.

In August, the Vice Chancellor had distanced himself from a new coalition in clearer terms, telling magazine Stern the parties would part ways.

The former SPD leader told dpa that national unity governments comprised of Germany‘s main traditional parties were not an "ideal constellation" as they tended to strengthen fringe parties in the long run.

Gabriel also said there were key points of difference between the CDU/CSU and the SPD on forward-looking issues. These included arms, pensions and health "which I find it hard to see being overcome," he told dpa.

The main differences between the parties were not because of Chancellor Merkel, but because of her party, Gabriel added. He noted that the coalition had not been able to tackle some issues as Merkel faced internal opposition from her own party.

Recent polls show that Merkel‘s conservative bloc remains the favourite to win next month‘s national election.

Merkel‘s rival, SPD leader Martin Schulz said last week he was confident of ending Merkel‘s 12 years in power and taking over the chancellorship, despite trailing in opinion polls.

 

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