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The latest: German Social Democrats back talks about government



BERLIN – The latest in efforts to form a new government in Germany (all local times):

7:00 pm

Members of Germany's center-left Social Democrats agreed to start talks with the conservatives of the Chancellor Angela Merkel on whether to renew her ruling coalition or at least support a minority government.

A party congress voted on Thursday to support a motion put forward by party leaders who called for talks on "whether the Social Democrats can support a new government."

The Social Democrats initially insisted on entering the opposition after a disastrous election result in September, but leaders changed course after Merkel's talks with two smaller parties collapsed last month.

Party president Martin Schulz told delegates "We do not have to govern at any price, but we should also not want to govern at any price. "

Schulz expects to open talks next week

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9:50 am

The left-center Social Democrats in Germany are discussing whether to open talks with the conservatives Chancellor Angela Merkel to extend her ruling coalition, or at least endorse a government minority.

The Social Democratic leaders insisted that the party would enter into opposition after a disastrous result of the election in September. He reinforced his refusal to join a new coalition after Merkel's talks with two smaller parties collapsed last month.

However, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier made it clear that he does not want new elections and the Social Democratic leader Martin Schulz reversed the course.

In a party congress previously scheduled on Thursday, Schulz is seeking approval from members for a resolution approving talks on "if the Social Democrats can support a new government and in what way." But some members want to specifically exclude another coalition.

Germany's center-left Social Democrats agreed on Thursday to open talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives on whether to renew their ruling coalition or at least support a minority government.

Party leader Martin Schulz, the defeated Merkel contender in the September 24 election in Germany, secured a party's congressional agreement for a motion calling "if the Social Democrats can support a new government."

Delegates rejected a call from the youth wing of the Social Democrats to explicitly exclude a repeat of the "grand coalition" of the largest parties in Germany in which they have been junior partners since 201

3. But the road to a new government is probably Extended.

Schulz insisted after the disastrous election of the Social Democrats that showed that the party would enter the opposition.

He said he would still not consider joini a new coalition after Merkel's talks with two smaller parties collapsed last month. But President Frank-Walter Steinmeier made it clear that he does not want a new election and Schulz reversed course.

Schulz said at the scheduled conference on Thursday that the talks' leadership plan, which he hopes to start next week, "does not take any option." off the table "and would not automatically lead to a coalition."

"We do not have to govern at any price, but we should not want to govern at any price," he said. "What is important is what we can implement."

Schulz has promised a party membership vote on any coalition agreement with Merkel's union bloc On Thursday, leaders also agreed to hold a party congress to consider whether to move from exploratory talks to coalition negotiations

If no coalition is agreed, that would leave only a minority government or a new election as an option, and Merkel has said she is "very skeptical" about leading a minority government, which has not yet been proven in later Germany. to the Second World War.

Schulz, however, insisted that "

here are several equally valuable ways in which we can contribute to form a gobie in this country, "said Schulz. The leadership motion "does not take any options from the table," he added, making it clear that it would not automatically lead to a coalition.

In his speech, Schulz listed center-left priorities as equal treatment for men and women in the labor market and a relatively liberal approach to immigration, rejecting the idea of ​​limiting the number of refugees allowed in the country.

The former president of the European Parliament called for a eurozone budget to boost investment and growth in Europe, and a finance minister who would curb "fiscal dumping".

He also advocated targeting a federal "United States of Europe" by 2025, and argued that countries that do not sign a treaty that establishes a federal configuration should automatically abandon it. The European Union.

When asked about that idea at a separate event in Berlin, Merkel said it would focus on securing greater cooperation on economic, security, defense and other issues by 2025.

The Social Democrats have been part of the German government for 15 of the last 19 years, twice joining a "grand coalition" under Merkel, from 2005 to 2009 and again from 2013 until now.

But the party suffered historically poor election results after both Merkel coalitions, with support declining to a post-war minimum of 20.5 percent in September.

"The renewal of the Social Democratic Party will occur outside of a 'grand coalition' or it will not happen," said youth wing leader Kevin Kuehnert.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material can not be published, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed.


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