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Germany

Merkel: Asking Germans to vote again is 'simply wrong'

The chancellor has said that it would be "simply wrong" to hold new elections after preliminary coalition talks with the Greens and FDP failed. The SPD is reconsidering another "grand coalition" with the CDU and CSU.

Chancellor Angela Merkel revised her earlier comments about fresh elections on Saturday, saying it was "simply wrong" to ask Germany to vote again.

Speaking at the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania regional conference of her Christian Democratic (CDU) party, Merkel added that "Germany must have a stable government, but one which also takes the country forward."

Chancellor Merkel speaking in Kühlungsborn

Chancellor Merkel speaking in Kühlungsborn

The chancellor was speaking on the heels of one of Germany's most significant political events in years: the breakdown of preliminary coalition talks between the CDU and its Bavarian sister party, the CSU, the Green party and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) last week.

After disappointing results in September's general election, and a refusal from the Social Democrats (SPD) to enter into another "grand coalition," Merkel had approached the two smaller parties in order to form a majority government. However, after the FDP backed out of preliminary talks — citing ideological differences — Germany's longtime leader has been left looking for a solution after two months without a new government.

To that end, last week Merkel commented that she would be open to new elections instead of creating a minority government.

Merkel's revision

She appeared to revise that statement on Saturday, however, telling CDU members in her home state that "if we can't do anything with the [election] result, we cannot ask the people to vote again."

Perhaps Merkel's optimism that a coalition could still be salvaged from the September election was due to a change of tune from the SPD.

After four years ruling together with the CDU and receiving its worst ever results in the federal vote, the SPD announced that it would not join another grand coalition and would prefer to remain an opposition voice in the Bundestag.

However, as the situation grows increasingly strained and voters become restless with the lack of action in Berlin, the SPD has indicated that it may stay in power after all.

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SPD reconsiders grand coalition

On Friday, SPD leader Martin Schulz called for a grassroots decision over whether the party wanted to govern or not.

The SPD's leader in parliament, Andrea Nahles, called for more support from the youth wing of the party, which has voiced concerns about entering another "grand coalition."

"In my opinion, in the next few weeks we need everyone, including the Jusos [Young Socialists in the SPD], in order to find a good way out of this outrageous crap that others have concocted," Nahles said on Saturday.

"In which form and make-up we will take on responsibility is open and must remain open," she added.

But Germany may still have to wait a while longer for a new government. On Saturday, SPD deputy leader Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel said that no decision on entering into a second grand coalition would be made before the party's national conference on December 7-9.

Merkel, for her part, welcomed upcoming talks with Schulz and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier this week to discuss the possibility of joining forces once again.

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