AfD co-chair Frauke Petry shocked her party colleagues by saying she won't join their parliamentary group in the Bundestag. The SPD's Martin Schulz repeated that he wants to go into opposition. Read all the updates here.
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18:52 AfD co-chair Jörg Meuthen has added his voice to the chorus of those calling for Frauke Petry to leave the AfD. Meuthen told the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that his co-chair's quick resignation would avoid the party having to shut her out procedurally. He said that Petry has shown "that she is not a team player" and warned that an attempt by Petry to form her own parliamentary group would not be successful.
Petry's surprise announcement that she would not join the AfD's parliamentary group came earlier on Monday during a press conference led by Meuthen. Petry won a direct seat in the Bundestag through her consituency in Saxony.
17:32 Despite internal party criticism, the CSU's chief Horst Seehofer has denied that his time as party chairmen could be nearing its end. "I do not feel like a dead man walking," he said at the party's press conference in Munich. Seehofer is facing calls from some of his CSU colleagues to step down after the party's worst election result since 1949.
The chairman of the local CSU chapter in Grosshabersdorf, Thomas Zehmeister, called on Facebook and Twitter for Seehofer to "immediately give up his position as CSU party chairman and clear the way for a fresh start with new personnel."
17:16 At a press conference in Munich the leader of the Bavarian-based Christian Social Union (CSU) Horst Seehofer has said that the party has heard the voters and understood, "Business as normal is not an option."
In reference to the AfD's inroads in Bavaria, Seehofer said his conservative party would once again occupy the center-right of the political spectrum. He also repeated his promise that the CSU would seek to renegotiate the party's traditional partnership with Merkel's CDU, such as by pressing for an upper limit to the number of refugee seekers in Germany — a policy that the CDU has rejected.
The CSU won 38.8 percent of the vote in Bavaria, a historic low for the party, whereas the AfD earned 12.4 percent.
16:29 The pro-business FDP has elected Christian Lindner, the party's top candidate in the election campaign, to lead the party in parliament. After failing to reach the 5 percent hurdle in the 2013 election and four subsequent years without parliamentary representation, the FDP secured a strong re-entrance into the Bundestag with 10.7 percent. The 38-year-old Lindner helped re-shape the party. Lindner announced the unanimous vote in his favor on Twitter.
16:09 Top politician from The Left party Gregor Gysi has said that Germany "needs a social push," but that yesterday's election results will prevent the country from getting it.
Gysi also said that the AfD's election success, based in large part on the support of men in former East Germany, was due to those individuals understanding themselves as the losers of history. "With the Soviet Union, [East Germans] had a more difficult occupying power" controlling them after World War II than people in West Germany had, Gysi said, adding that the East's inhabitants also felt like "second-class Germans" after reunification in 1990.
In order to stem support for the AfD, the underlying causes of migration to Germany must also be combated, Gysi added.
15:42 SPD leader Schulz reiterated that his party would not join with Angela Merkel's CDU/CSU to form a grand coalition in the upcoming government formation. "Our role is in the opposition," he underlined. Merkel announced earlier that she intended to speak with the SPD about forming a joint government, but Schulz said that the chancellor had not yet made any offer of discussion.
He also stated that he believed the formation of a Jamaica coalition — a three-way government coalition made up of the CDU/CSU, the pro-business FDP, and the liberal Green party — would be successful.
SPD Chairman Martin Schulz has reiterated that his party will not form part of a governing coalition with Merkel
15:35 SPD Chairman Martin Schulz has announced that he will revamp the party following its historic loss in Sunday's election while remaining faithful to the party's social democratic principles. "We are the bulwark of democracy in this country," he said from Berlin.
Schulz also laid the blame for the AfD's entrance into the Bundestag squarely on Merkel's shoulders. He said that the chancellor had hollowed out public discussion with "sleeping-pill politics," causing a vacuum to arise that a party had then filled — implying the AfD.
15:10 AfD's top candidate Alice Weidel has criticized Petry for her lack of responsibility to the party and demanded that she leave the party "in order to prevent further damage." Weidel's statement was a reaction to the party co-chair Frauke Petry's announcement that she will not join the AfD's parliamentary group when it enters the Bundestag next year and will instead sit independently in the lower chamber.
13:50 German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she acknowledged that the far-right AfD rose to become Germany's third largest party on the back of a campaign that centered on criticizing her and condemning her decision to let over a million refugees enter the country over the past two years. However, she stressed that the AfD would have no influence on the future government's policies. "The parties that are capable of forming coalitions with each other will seek solutions — there are of course differences ... but AfD will have no influence," she said.
13:35 On forming a new government, Merkel said she intends to hold coalition talks with the FDP, the Greens and the Social Democrats.
The SPD, however, has ruled out forming a second consecutive grand coalition with Merkel's conservatives. That leaves the chancellor with little choice but to seek a three-way coalition with the business-friendly FDP and the traditionally left-leaning Greens, which would be unprecedented at the national level.
13:30 Angela Merkel has just started speaking to the press, giving what appears to be a sobering speech despite her election victory. She said that her CDU party has been analyzing how it lost more than 1.4 million voters to the FDP and just under a million voters to the AfD.
The chancellor said she took responsibility for Germany's polarized political landscape but that she intends to win back those voters "through good politics."
13:00 Germany's Green party has said that its main condition for entering a ruling coalition would be to ensure that the country fulfills its obligations to the Paris climate accord.
"We are aware of our responsibility and will conduct the talks accordingly: for climate, justice & Europe," Green party co-leader Cem Özdemir said.
Özdemir also refuted the FDP's calls against deeper European integration, saying that the EU would not solve its economic woes through austerity policies and that Germany had a "vital interest" in French President Emmanuel Macron realizing his proposed European reforms.
12:20 FDP leader Christian Lindner has told reporters that he intends to lead his party in the new parliament, but gave little away over how talks were progressing on forming a so-called "Jamaica coalition" with the Union parties (CDU/CSU) and the Greens.
However, Lindner did reaffirm his pro-business party's terms for going into such a coalition, while deputy leader Wolfgang Kubicki stressed that they would not go into coalition "at any price." Some of the FDP's key terms include opposing any wealth tax, ruling out a ban on internal combustion engines and fostering an open market for technology companies. Lindner has also ruled at any cap on refugees entering Germany, putting his party at odds with CSU, a prospective partner within the Jamaica coalition.
On Europe, Lindner said that the eurozone's "stability-oriented" policies must be resumed. Lindner once again vocally opposed any plans for a common eurozone budget that could be used to prop up indebted European states.
Read more: What sets Germany's 'liberal' FDP apart
Lindner's remarks could pour cold water over Merkel's relationship with French President Emmanuel Macron, who has made a common budget for all 19 eurozone members the centerpiece of hisEuropean reform agenda.
12:13 The Left Party, which came fifth with 9.2 percent of the vote on Sunday, has positioned itself as the main opposition force against the far-right AfD in the new Bundestag. Party leader Bernd Riexinger said on Monday that "the AfD must know that in us it will find its toughest opponents and that we will decisively oppose any nationalist and racist positions."
Riexinger also indicated that his party would also reassess its social policies, admitting that the AfD had managed to exploit Germany's social divisions in its favor.
Despite the Left Party making electoral gains in this year's federal election, the FDP and AfD's entry into the new parliament saw it lose its position as the main opposition party.
11:46 Seehofer has sought to clarify remarks attributed to him regarding the CSU's union with Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats. According to German news agency dpa, Seehofer said he did not imply that his party should break up its parliamentary group with the the CDU. However, he did reaffirm that the topic would be discussed among the CSU leadership.
In the event that the CSU does break away with the Merkel's CDU, the chancellor would fail to fill enough parliamentary seats with Jamaica coalition and would likely have to call a new election.
11:15 According to the Agence France Presse news agency, CSU leader Horst Seehofer has said he intends to put the party's future relationship with Angela Merkel's CDU up for discussion. Speaking to party members, Seehofer was reported to have said he would leave the question open as to whether the two parties once again form their traditional parliamentary group in the new Bundestag.
Newly elected members of the CDU and CSU are scheduled to meet on Tuesday to discuss the continuation of the current parliamentary group, which has existed since 1949. Under the current arrangement, the CDU campaigns in all German federal states except Bavaria, while the CSU is only represented in Bavaria.
The CSU had a dismal showing in Sunday's vote by its usual standards, taking just 38.8 percent of the vote in Bavaria — a slump of more than 10 percent compared to 2013.
Despite being sister parties, the CDU and CSU have repeatedly clashed in the past two years over Merkel's open-door migration policy. In its election manifesto, the CSU called for the annual number of refugees to Germany to be capped at 200,000 — an idea Merkel has rejected.
11:00 Social Democrats candidate for chancellor Martin Schulz has recommended the current social welfare and labor minister, Andrea Nahles, to take over as the SPD's parliamentary leader and leader of the opposition.
The Social Democrats' election candidate also reaffirmed his party's decision not to enter into a second consecutive grand coalition government with the conservative Union parties. "I would like to make it quite clear that the decision has been made, we are the opposition in this country," Schulz told reporters on Monday morning. "We will see what kind of government will be formed. We're going to confront this government in a constructive manner as the opposition."
10:53 The CSU's former minister president of Bavaria, Günther Beckstein, has said the Greens and the CSU are "like fire and water." FDP vice-chair Wolfgang Kubicki has said talks on a CDU/CSU-FDP-Green coalition will "not be a sure-fire success."
10:18 SPD top candidate Martin Schulz said once again that his party would go into opposition in the new parliament and not enter a new grand coalition with Chancellor Merkel's CDU and the CSU.
The Social Democrats only managed to take 20.5 percent of the vote in Sunday's federal election, its worst result in Germany's post-war history.
09:52 Following Petry's departure, Gauland said he did not believe his statements were responsible for Petry's decision.
Petry had publically criticized Gauland for saying that the AfD would "go after" the new government and for saying that Germany should be proud of its soldiers in the First and Second World Wars, which she said were not constructive and could push voters away from the party.
09:34 AfD co-chair Jörg Meuthen apologized for the incident and said he "had had no knowledge" of Petry's decision, which he said was a "bombshell."
Petry later referenced inner party disagreements and her belief that the AfD could offer nothing more than opposition for her decision.
"We should be open about the fact there there is conflict regarding content within the AfD, we should not pretend it doesn't exist," Petry told reporters. She added that the party had become "anarchical" in the weeks leading up to the election and "cannot offer the voter a credible platform for government."
09:16 Frauke Petry, the co-chair and longtime public face of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), said Monday at a party press conference she will not join the AfD's parliamentary party in the new legislative period.
The surprise announcement shocked colleagues present at the conference that included AfD top candidates Alice Weidel and Alexander Gauland and escalated a months-long inner-party feud.
Speaking to reporters in Berlin, Petry said: "I decided after careful reflection that I will not sit with the (AfD) parliamentary group."
She then promptly left the room without taking questions, which her colleagues had apparently not expected.
Petry won the vote in her Saxony constituency. The far-right AfD won 12.6 per cent of the vote in Sunday's nationwide election and will enter the Bundestag, Germany's parliament, for the first time as the third-largest party with 94 seats.
amp, dm, cmb/se (dpa, AFP, Reuters, AP)
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