German political instability threatens Merkel's leadership

By Ed Adamczyk  |  Nov. 20, 2017 at 7:13 AM
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Nov. 20 (UPI) -- Preliminary coalition talks over the weekend collapsed in Germany, threatening Chancellor Angela Merkel's leadership position.

Unity talks between Christian Democrats, the environmental Greens Party and the pro-business Free Democratic Party collapsed over the weekend.

Negotiations failed to produce a coalition of political parties large enough to control Germany's parliament. Since 2013, a "grand coalition" of Merkel's Christian Democrats, the Christian Social Union of Bavaria and the Social Democrats has led the Bundestag and {link:kept Merkel in power. : "http://www.dw.com/en/what-now-for-germany-after-coalition-talks-fail/a-41447567" target="_blank"}

After a poor showing in September's federal elections, the Social Democrats changed their position to that of an opposition party. Now, no two-party combination with Merkel's is enough to ensure the chancellor's leadership position.

Merkel is next scheduled to meet with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who has the power to dissolve parliament and call new elections.

A minority government is a possibility, would such a prospect would be untested. A minority government hasn't led Germany since the end of World war II.

Another "grand coalition" is possible, but unlikely, with Social Democrats preferring to rebuild as an opposition party. A new election is the third possibility. All scenarios would weaken Merkel's political position.

The potential setback calls Germany's influence in Europe into question. Germany is the European Union's strongest economic power, and an upcoming EU summit is expected to further entrench integration of EU countries.

Germany's political instability could also affect the EU approach to Britain's exit from the economic bloc, an EU list of citizens' rights and Greece's request for debt restructuring.

News of the collapse of negotiations lowered the overnight value of the Euro on Asian markets on Monday against the dollar and the yen.

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