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CSU's Seehofer: cap on migrants a precondition for next government

Never before has Bavaria's state premier spoken so bluntly about limiting the influx of migrants. Now, Merkel's conservative ally has said a cap will be a prerequisite to forming a new government next year.

"Without an annual threshold of 200,000 migrants allowed to enter Germany, the Christian Social Union (CSU) will refuse to be part of the next government," the Bavarian party's head Horst Seehofer told news agency dpa on Wednesday.

While German Chancellor Angela Merkel has so far refused to entertain the notion of such a cap, Seehofer sought Wednesday to enforce his position on the German television program "Farbe bekennen".

When pressed whether the CSU would otherwise run as an opposition party, Seehofer responded: "You've got that right."

The CSU leader also said he was confident he would be able to push his party's position and overcome any resistance expressed by the Chancellor. "We're going to get this cap," he said, citing that Merkel and allies in her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party also wanted to avoid a repeat in the influx of migrants arriving in Germany over the past year.

"We want to assure the people that we will be part of a government that keeps its word," the CSU head said.

Deutschland Horst Seehofer und Angela Merkel in Potsdam (picture-alliance/dpa/R. Hirschberger)

Merkel and Seehofer have clashed over the Chanellor's "open door" migrant policy.

However, Seehofer argued that a cap was necessary to allow Germany to continue taking in people most in need. He also said that he explicitly supports such a policy.

The Bavarian state premier also welcomed the CDU's decision to include last week's party conference vote to only allow dual nationality under exceptional circumstances as part of its mandate for the 2017 election. Although Merkel and other leading CDU figures voiced their displeasure about the result, Seehofer said they "cannot ignore the party convention."

The policy would require children born in Germany to migrant parents to opt for either German nationality or that of their parents.

dm/kl (dpa, AFP, Reuters)