German Coalition Negotiators still Seeking Deal After All-Night Talks
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the Social Democrats (SPD) negotiated through the night into Wednesday in a marathon final push to nail down a new coalition agreement, according to Reuters.
Negotiators from the two blocs remained locked in talks at the headquarters of Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), where they began meeting at 10 a.m. (0900 GMT) on Tuesday.
Merkel’s office said in a statement a press conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni had been pushed back to 6 p.m. from 1.10 p.m.
Finance Minister Peter Altmaier, a close Merkel ally, and SPD Justice Minister Heiko Maas both canceled scheduled early morning broadcast interviews.
Merkel has struggled to cobble together a government more than four months after a national election, raising concerns among investors and partner countries at a time when Europe is facing multiple challenges - including the need for euro zone reform and Britain’s departure from the European Union.
However, party leader Martin Schulz changed course and opened negotiations with Merkel after she failed to clinch a coalition deal with the Greens and Free Democrats in November.
Sources involved in the negotiations said the conservative bloc had reopened topics that had previously been agreed.
An Insa poll on Monday showed support for the SPD dropping to 17 percent, below its election result of 20.5 percent. The conservatives slipped to 30.5 percent, suggesting there would be no majority for a grand coalition if an election were held now.
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