‘A snap election would be a catastrophe’, Merkel ally warns

‘A snap election would be a catastrophe', Merkel ally warns
Daniel Günther. Photo: DPA
With coalition talks bogged down in a war of words between the negotiating parties, a senior member of the Christian Democrats (CDU) has warned that failure is not an option.

Daniel Günther, Minister President of Schleswig-Holstein, said in an interview with Bild on Monday that a snap election would be a “catastrophe” for the country.

After a national election on September 24th gave Angela Merkel's Christian Union (CDU/CSU) a victory with a weakened vote share, the Chancellor has been exploring a three-way coalition with the Green party and the Free Democrats (FDP). This coalition formation, nicknamed the Jamaica Coalition, has never before been tried at the national level.

Preliminary talks between the parties have made slow progress, raising the possibility that no deal will be reached and the country will once again be called to the polls.

Coalition negotiations continued into a second round of preliminary talks on Monday, with Angela Merkel meeting other party leaders to try to break the deadlock.

Rallying all the parties to show more willingness to compromise, Günther stated that a failure to reach an agreement would be a “signal of our inability to act” and would create “the perfect conditions for extremism to flourish.”

“All of the parties know what has to be done,” he said. “Everyone needs to pull themselves together.”

He also called for more compromise with the Green Party on family reunions for refugees, one of the most contentious issues so far. The Green Party want refugees offered a secondary form of protection known as “subsidiary protection” to be able to bring their families to Germany, in contrast to the wishes of the other parties.

“As a family-oriented party, the CDU should be able to compromise on this point,” Günther said.

But the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party of the CDU, reiterated once again that they are refusing to give an inch on the contentious issue of family reunions.

“The CSU won't be shaken from its rejection of family reunions,” the party's deputy leader Christian Schmidt told the Passauer Neue Presse on Monday.

Meanwhile, the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) have criticized the negotiations as “lacking substance.”

“What the four parties have delivered in the past few weeks is dumb balcony politics, showing the same shots for the camera and giving the same platitudes to the microphone,” SPD deputy leader Ralf Stegner told DPA.

SPD leader Martin Schulz said that there was no way his party would enter a coalition if talks would fail between the Jamaica partners.

“It is the task of this majority to build a government. If they can’t do that, if they can’t implement the task given to them by the voters, then the voters will have to speak again,” he said.