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POLITICS

Coalition mayhem in Hesse

Politicians in the German state of Hesse have still not formed a government due to disagreement between the parties. A coalition has yet to be formed along traditional lines and the CDU and SPD refuse to form a grand coalition emulating that of the federal government.

“The grand coalition is impossible,” Andrea Ypsilanti head of the SPD and candidate for premier of Hessen, told the local daily Neuen Presse. She told the Berliner Morgenpost that there is no common ground between both parties’ programmes and that her refusal to enter a coalition with the CDU is not simply based on opposition to CDU Roland Koch.

“If Roland Koch were gone, the CDU’s program would remain. The programs do not fit together. One cannot make a coalition in which both parties must completely abandon their identity.”

The CDU has announced that it is willing to talk to “all democratic parties” about a coalition with the exception of the Left Party. The rightwing NDP party is also excluded, as the CDU does not consider them to be democratic.

One possibility would be a coalition between the centre FDP and the CDU, which would encompass 53 percent of the seats. Pundits have also cited a coalition between the SPD and the Green Party as a possibility. This would encompass 51 percent of the seats.

Another possibility could be the “Jamaica Coalition,” a coalition between the CDU, FDP and The Green party. The name comes from the respective party colours, yellow, black and green, the colours of the Jamaican flag. This scenario, however, was rejected by the Green Party.

Leading SPD candidate in the Hamburg election Michael Naumann has called for a “traffic light” coalition. This is a reference to the colours of the SPD, CDU and The Green Party, which are red, yellow and green, respectively. The Green Party rejected this coalition, because they did not want to join with the conservative CDU.

Politicians and pundits believe that Roland Koch will remain the premier in the end, as he won the most votes, and that a grand coalition will form in the absence of any other alternative.

POLITICS

Ex-chancellor Schröder sues German Bundestag for removing perks

Former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has sued the German parliament for removing some of his official post-retirement perks over his links to Russian energy giants, his lawyer said Friday.

Ex-chancellor Schröder sues German Bundestag for removing perks

Schröder, 78, has come under heavy criticism for his proximity to Russian President Vladimir Putin and involvement with state-backed energy companies.

The decision to suspend Schröder’s taxpayer-funded office and staff in May was “contrary to the rule of law”, Michael Nagel, told public broadcaster NDR.

Schröder “heard of everything through the media”, Nagel said, noting that the Social Democrat had asked for a hearing before the budget committee responsible but was not given the chance to express himself.

READ ALSO: Germany strips Schröder of official perks over Russia ties

Schröder’s lawyers filed the complaint with an administrative Berlin court, a spokesman for the court confirmed.

In its decision to strip him of the perks, the committee concluded that Schröder, who served as chancellor from 1998 to 2005, “no longer upholds the continuing obligations of his office”.

Most of Schröder’s office staff had already quit before the final ruling was made.

Despite resigning from the board of Russian oil company Rosneft and turning down a post on the supervisory board of gas giant Gazprom in May, Schröder has maintained close ties with the Kremlin.

The former chancellor met Putin in July, after which he said Moscow was ready for a “negotiated solution” to the war in Ukraine — comments branded as “disgusting” by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Last week, the Social Democrats concluded that Schröder would be allowed to remain a member after he was found not have breached party rules over his ties to the Russian President.

Schröder’s stance on the war and solo diplomacy has made him an embarrassment to the SPD, which is also the party of current Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

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