Merkel steps up talks to secure crucial German coalition partner

City A.M. Reporter
CHANCELLOR Angela Merkel led her conservatives to their best result in over two decades in the latest German election – and is now stepping up talks to secure a crucial coalition partner.

After holding preliminary talks with the Social Democrats (SPD) on Friday she has agreed to more discussions on 14 October.

In the meantime Merkel is set to meet the Greens on Thursday to assess whether there is enough common ground to enter formal coalition negotiations with either party.

“The chances of a coalition with the Greens have risen in recent days from ‘theoretical’ to ‘conceivable’,” conservative Environment Minister Peter Altmeier told Der Spiegel magazine.

Merkel and SPD chief Sigmar Gabriel signalled readiness at the weekend to make the compromises necessary to form a “grand coalition” after months of campaigning against one another.

In her weekly podcast, Merkel said a priority was more investment in education, a key campaign promise of the SPD. Gabriel said his party’s pledge of tax hikes was not an end in itself as long as there was money to finance investments.