• Germany's news in English

FDP open to Rhineland 'traffic light' coalition

DDP/DPA/The Local · 31 May 2010, 08:28

Published: 31 May 2010 08:28 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

FDP leader Guido Westerwelle on Sunday evening signalled on public television that his party might drop its opposition to working with the two other parties in Germany's most populous state.

"The FDP is now in the opposition, but if things have changed, because the SPD and the Greens or the CDU and Greens are rethinking matters, then they know where to reach our state party chairman," Westerwelle, who is also German foreign minister, said.

Westerwelle's statements signal a change of heart for the FDP, which has in recent years traditionally partnered with Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU).

FDP parliamentary group leader Birgit Homburger told daily Bild that the party supported the option including her party, the SPD, and the Greens – whose party colours yellow are red, and green respectively.

“Coalitions orient themselves on substance,” she told the paper. “Naturally coalitions are fundamentally possible with the SPD.”

“In the future we will also review statements about probable coalitions,” she added, urging FDP supporters not to overestimate the value of a new partnership.

“It’s not a question of principle,” she told Bild.

Last week the SPD and the Greens abandoned coalition talks with the hard-line socialist Left party, which meant that a “grand coalition” including the SPD and the CDU was likely. But a deal between the two parties could be hindered by the fact both won an equal number of seats in the May 9 election.

At the moment, the head of the CDU in North Rhine-Westphalia, Jürgen Rüttgers, is demanding to remain state premier in a grand coalition, even though his party’s results were considered a bruising defeat and a de facto victory for the SPD.

Story continues below…

Meanwhile on Monday SPD leadership welcomed the FDP’s new willingness to consider the “traffic light coalition” in the state.

“It’s absurd when they refuse talks with other democratic parties after an election,” SPD parliamentary group leader Frank-Walter Steinmeier told daily Der Tagesspiegel. “It’s good that the FDP seems to have seen this,” he said.

Now it is up to the SPD and the Greens to make an official offer of negotiations to the FDP, he said.

DDP/DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

10:06 May 31, 2010 by moreanon
Maybe now the Local editors can refer to them as the pro-coalition FDP instead of the pro-business FDP. Or maybe both.
10:18 May 31, 2010 by Small Town Boy
Of course the FDP are prepared to enter any coalition ­ they'll do anything to get their grubby hands on power. Since the FDP's national approval rating is currently languishing at around 3%, the SPD would however be nuts to think about letting them in.
Today's headlines
Eurowings cabin crew union to strike all day Thursday
Photo: DPA.

UPDATE: A union representing cabin crews on Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings has announced that strikes will last all day Thursday as ongoing contract negotiations continue to falter.

Hesse hopes to set example by building Iraqi orphanages
Refugee children in northern Iraq. Photo: DPA

The wealthy central German state of Hesse has set aside €1 million to build a school, family homes and an orphanage in northern Iraq, in an effort to help refugees there.

The Local List
10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
David Hasselhoff. Photo: DPA

Whether it be efficiency, humourlessness or a love of a certain Baywatch star, there are many cliches stuck in the heads of foreigners about Germany. But how true are they?

Fake Germanwings victim relative convicted in Cologne
A torn piece of metal at the crash site in 2015. Photo: DPA

A German court on Wednesday gave a woman a year's suspended jail sentence for posing as the cousin of a victim in last year's Germanwings plane crash and obtaining compensation offered by the airline.

Couple accused of torturing, murdering women go on trial
The so-called 'house of horrors' in Höxter where the couple allegedly tortured and killed women. Photo: DPA.

A couple accused of luring women to their village home with personal ads started trial on Wednesday over charges that they tortured and killed at least two of their victims.

After July attacks, govt drafts new video surveillance law
Photo: DPA

The Interior Ministry is drafting a law which will enable public spaces to be filmed for surveillance purposes as a reaction to deadly attacks in July, according to a newspaper report.

Merkel: murky internet giants distort perception of reality
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA.

Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Tuesday for internet giants to make public their closely-guarded algorithms, claiming that they are not giving people diverse enough information.

Pegida leader 'paid court costs with group's money'
Pegida leader Lutz Bachmann. Photo: DPA.

The leader of the anti-Islam movement reportedly used money from Pegida's coffers to pay for two personal court cases, German media reported this week.

Anger as Berlin scraps Turkey concert on Armenia genocide
The Dresden Symphony Orchestra. Photo: DPA

Germany's foreign ministry Tuesday scrapped a planned symphony performance on the Armenian "genocide" in its Istanbul consulate, sparking accusations that it was caving in to Turkish pressure.

Obama to visit Berlin in last presidential trip to Germany
President Barack Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel during a Berlin trip in 2013. Photo: DPA.

The White House announced on Tuesday that US President Barack Obama will be paying one last unexpected visit to the German capital - his last before he leaves office.

10 ways German completely messes up your English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd