Germany's Social Democrats mull talks on backing Merkel govt

Germany's Social Democrats mull talks on backing Merkel govt

A poll published by the German Spiegel newspaper showed that only 28 percent of SPD voters favoured another grand coalition, though 57 percent of them argued leader Martin Schulz should support a minority government led by Merkel. Later on Thursday, SPD delegates are set to vote on a motion submitted by the party's leadership laying out the prerequisites to enter negotiations with the chancellor.

His U-turn - which he was pushed into by his own MPs - has earned Schulz much ridicule both nationally and within the SPD and led to charges that he is unfit to continue to lead Germany's oldest political party.

He had pledged to go into opposition after an indecisive election in September but was forced to change his mind by senior party figures...

"We don't have to govern at any price, but we also shouldn't want not to govern at any price", Schulz said.

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Some members - including the party's youth wing - want to specifically rule out another coalition with Merkel's Union bloc, leaving only a minority government or a new election as options.

The same appeal has come from Germany's president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a longtime party member, who encouraged Schulz to steer the party in the direction of government. A similar call surfaced in a European Commission reform agenda on Wednesday.

At a previously scheduled party congress, Schulz sought members' approval for a resolution approving talks on "whether and in what form" the Social Democrats can support a new government under Merkel.

The SPD was critical of the Republic's role in the global taxation system last month too, voting against an Irish request to restructure crisis-era loans to save €150 million in interest repayments.