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Green Party warms up to Merkel coalition

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Green Party warms up to Merkel coalition
Photo: DPA. Green leaders Claudia Roth and Cem Özdemir arrive to meet Gauck.
15:32 CEST+02:00
Germany's Green Party appears to be warming to the idea of joining Angela Merkel in government with its leaders giving off signals that the ecological party would welcome a return to the corridors of power.

Although Merkel's CDU/CSU union is most likely to form a “grand coalition” with the Social Democrats (SPD), the chancellor is also expected to meet with the Green Party next Thursday for exploratory coalition talks.

All week leaders of the main political parties have been visiting President Joachim Gauck to discuss where Germany goes after the elections on September 22nd and on Wednesday it was the turn of the Green Party's leaders, Claudia Roth and Cem Özdemir.

Although an alliance between the Union and Greens would seem unlikely given their histories – a conservative party joining with a 1970s anti-nuclear, peace and environmental movement – Merkel adopted the Greens' key demand of phasing out nuclear power after Japan's Fukushima disaster in 2011.

Katrin Göring-Eckardt, who stood alongside Jürgen Trittin as the Green Party's chancellor candidate, said on Wednesday she would take talks with the CDU “seriously”.

The Green Party leader in the Saxony state parliament Antje Hermenau said her party should take on government responsibilities. She told the Sächsischen Zeitung: “We must prove that we can apply what we've been saying over the last few years practically in government.“

And deputy state premier of North-Rhine Westphalia Sylvia Löhrmann outlined what the Greens would want from government - a continuation of the green energy revolution, Energiewende and a more relaxed immigration policy.

She told the Berliner Zeitung: “From a Green perspective the Energiewende is the most important thing." She added the CDU would also have to show that it was prepared to be more liberal with its immigration policies if an alliance was to be formed.

Merkel will meet for the first time on Friday with the SPD to open talks about a possible “grand coalition” but her Union is looking to keep its options open.

The Greens' were in government from 1998 to 2005 in coalition with the SPD under chancellor Gerhard Schröder.

Merkel must form a coalition after falling just short of a majority in the German parliament, the Bundestag, despite winning 41.5 percent of the vote. The Greens took 8.4 percent of the vote.

The Local/tsb

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