Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

As France’s Carrefour pulls out, what next for India’s retail market?

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

#THE 51%

Sweden: A Feminist's Paradise?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Search of Air Algerie crash site continues

Read more

WEB NEWS

NSA targets 'Tor' network users

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users call for peace in Gaza

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

French government hopes to collect €1.8bn from foreign accounts

Read more

  • Video: Slaviansk mourns mass grave victims

    Read more

  • Thousands gather in Marseille in support of Israel

    Read more

  • Video: Ethiopia turns to wine to boost image, economy

    Read more

  • As France’s Carrefour pulls out, what next for India’s retail market?

    Read more

  • The centenary of Austria-Hungary’s calamitous last hurrah

    Read more

  • France honours those lost on Air Algérie Flight AH5017

    Read more

  • UN Security Council calls for immediate Gaza ceasefire

    Read more

  • Nibali joins elite group with Tour de France win

    Read more

  • France calls on its nationals to leave Libya as violence escalates

    Read more

  • Boko Haram kidnap Cameroon minister's wife in deadly attack

    Read more

  • Muslims prepare for Eid al-Fitr festival

    Read more

  • ‘Irresponsible’ American dad tries to scale Mont Blanc with children

    Read more

  • Ukraine fighting prevents observers from accessing MH17 crash site

    Read more

  • In pictures: Crowds flock to enjoy the Tour de France show

    Read more

  • Netanyahu says Hamas 'violating its own ceasefire'

    Read more

  • Video: At the scene of the Air Algérie crash in Mali

    Read more

  • Costa Concordia arrives in port of Genoa to be scrapped

    Read more

  • In pictures: Youths clash with police at banned Gaza protest

    Read more

  • Russia lashes out at new EU sanctions over Ukraine

    Read more

  • Bodies of all Air Algérie crash victims to be brought to France

    Read more

  • Syrian army and ISIS both claim advances

    Read more

  • Briton kidnapped in Yemen freed after five months

    Read more

  • New round of Gaza ceasefire talks takes place in Paris

    Read more

Europe

Merkel open to coalition talks with centre-left

© Photo: AFP

Video by Kyle G. Brown , Halla Mohieddeen

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-09-23

Angela Merkel said on Monday she was “open” to coalition talks with her centre-left rivals, the Social Democratic Party, following her party’s stunning victory in Sunday night’s general election in which she won a historic 41.5%.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday she was "open" to coalition negotiations with her Social Democrat rivals, a day after she resoundingly won elections but lost her current allies.

"We are open for discussions," Merkel said, adding she had already had initial contact with the Social Democrats' leadership, but that she did not rule out talks with the ecologist Greens.

SPD Chairman Sigmar Gabriel said that his party was also “open” to talks with Merkel on forming a government.

Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) scored its best result in 23 years in elections on Sunday, winning 41.5 percent of the vote and finishing only five seats short of an absolute majority in the lower house.

The resounding victory reaffirmed Merkel’s position as Europe’s most powerful leader and one of the few who enjoys strong support from their electorate.

True to her style, 59-year-old Merkel pledged that "we will use the result responsibly and carefully," but stressed that she intends to serve out her full term till 2017, as jubilant supporters yelled "Angie, Angie, Angie!”

FRANCE 24 Chief Foreign Editor Robert Parsons described Merkel’s victor from Berlin as “astonishing”.

“This is a far bigger victory than anyone had anticipated,” he said. “It’s one of the biggest triumphs in post-war Germany, and at a time when leaders all over Europe have been falling like ninepins as a consequence of the financial crisis.”

German news website Spiegel Online ran with the headline "The Merkel Republic”, adding that “Germany has finally become Angela Merkel-Land”.

Coalition shock

However, there was bitter disappointment for Merkel’s allies in the outgoing government, the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), who suffered a humiliating exit from the Bundestag, the first time they will be absent from the chamber in the post-war era.

Merkel has already ruled with the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), when between 2005 and 2009 she led a mostly-successful “grand coalition”. The SPD came second in Sunday’s poll with 25.6 percent, slightly above its worst post-war result of 2009. Its candidate Peer Steinbrueck said that his party did not achieve the result they wanted, adding that “the ball is in Merkel's court".

A Merkel coalition with the ecologist and left-leaning Greens, who won 8.4 percent, is seen as unlikely as both parties in the campaign nixed such an uneasy alliance given their wide policy differences.

Merkel, a pastor’s daughter and former scientific researcher from Hamburg, described her party’s victory on Sunday as “a super result”. She said that Germany will face “many tasks, at home, in Europe and in the world” over the next four years and that her party “will do everything to make them successful years for Germany”.

The CDU’s campaign banked on Merkel's image as a calm, sensible and reassuring eurozone crisis manager, along with her record of keeping a strong economy and low unemployment.

“The CDU’s campaign was all pinned to the personality of Merkel and her popularity,” Parsons reported from Berlin. “There’s a sense here that Merkel has provided people with the safety they’ve been looking for; people talk of good governance,” he said.

European support

Congratulations poured in from across Europe on Monday, while the euro firmed in Asian trade, with investors cheering the "continuity" Merkel provided.

French President François Hollande congratulated Merkel in a phone call in which both agreed "to continue their close cooperation to meet the challenges of the European project".

Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta hailed the "good result for the European Union," noting that the eurosceptic Alternative for Germany (AfD) party had failed to garner enough support to enter parliament, with less than 5 percent of the vote.

Britain's David Cameron said in a tweet that he was "looking forward to continuing to work closely" with Merkel.

In Berlin, observers expected days or even weeks of tough negotiations over policies and ministry posts between potential partners.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-09-23

  • GERMANY

    Last poll ahead of German vote promises tight race

    Read more

  • GERMAN ELECTIONS

    Germany's Anklam looks to shed 'black sheep' image

    Read more

  • GERMAN ELECTIONS

    German economic boom pushes youth toward Merkel

    Read more

COMMENT(S)