Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday she intended to hold talks with rival Social Democrats, the Free Democratic Party (FDP) and Germany’s Greens to discuss options for a stable coalition government.
Speaking at a news conference at her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party headquarters in Berlin, Merkel ruled out early elections after two potential partners -- the FDP and Greens -- did not appear interested in a three-way coalition.
“Of course we would seek talks both with the FDP, and with the Greens, but I would like to also add the SPD to that,” Merkel said, adding it was important the country get “a stable, good government”.
Merkel’s conservative bloc CDU/CSU won a fourth consecutive term in federal elections on Sunday but failed to secure an outright majority in Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag.
Although Merkel said they were open to all possible coalition options, except a partnership with the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) or the socialist Left Party, the Social Democrats have so far opposed another “grand coalition” with her Christian Democrats.
SPD leader Martin Schulz has further hardened his opposition to a grand coalition with the CDU/CSU bloc, after he suffered a historic defeat on Sunday.
Speaking at a news conference in Berlin on Monday, Schulz argued the election result meant voters had rejected the option of another grand coalition, and gave the SPD the role of main opposition.
“The SPD will not enter in any grand coalition,” Schulz said, and further argued that the CDU/CSU alliance, FDP and Greens shared similar views, and could easily form a three-party coalition.
Merkel’s CDU/CSU bloc and the SPD, which formed the current “grand coalition” government, received their worst election result since the end of World War II.
The CDU and its Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU) won 33 percent, down from 41.5 percent in the last federal election in 2013.
Schulz's SPD was down to 20.5 percent, but still managed to remain the second party after the conservatives.
The far-right AfD, which took an anti-immigration and anti-Islamic line during the election campaign, entered the federal parliament for the first time.
Riding a sharp increase in voter support, it achieved 13 percent, becoming the third-largest political group in the Bundestag.
The FDP, one of the Christian Democrats’ potential coalition partners, managed to win 10.7 percent. The Greens won 8.9 percent, up from 8.4 percent in federal elections in 2013.