September 29, 2021
BERLIN (Reuters) -Germany’s pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) plan further talks with the Greens on Friday before meeting the two bigger parties at the weekend about building a three-way coalition, the FDP’s secretary general said on Wednesday.
Volker Wissing’s comments came after a smiling selfie of FDP and Green leaders together at an initial meeting went viral and became the subject of jokes.
The Greens and FDP, from opposite ends of the political spectrum and at odds https://ift.tt/2XZZzhp on a range of major issues from finance to climate protection, are seen as kingmakers after an election on Sunday that was narrowly won by the Social Democrats (SPD).
Both the centre-left SPD and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc, which slumped to a record low result, would need the centre-right FDP and leftist Greens as partners to get a parliamentary majority for a coalition government.
FDP Secretary General Wissing said he could reveal nothing about the talks late on Tuesday as the small circle had agreed to stay mum, but that a bigger group of people from both parties would meet again on Friday.
After that, the FDP would hold preliminary talks with the conservatives on Saturday, and the SPD on Sunday. He declined to speculate on the outcome but made clear once again that the FDP’s preferred partner was the CDU/CSU bloc.
“We have justified this in terms of content, and since the content with which the parties have presented themselves has not changed, of course this remains our preference,” Wissing told reporters.
The photo of Greens leaders Robert Habeck and Annalena Baerbock with FDP leader Christian Lindner and Wissing at an unknown location appeared to send an upbeat message about prospects for the parties working together.
“We are looking for common ground and bridges across divisions. And even finding some,” read the caption below the photo in which they were all smiling. “Exciting times.”
Within hours, the photo went viral and became the subject of many jokes online. Some posts manipulated the images to show the four wearing masks https://twitter.com/LasseVDS/status/1443107607997304833 or superimposing the faces of other politicians on top. Others showed the four as a pop band. On one, they sing https://twitter.com/Fotobiene/status/1442992682985426947 the 1979 disco hit “We Are Family”.
All four posted the photo at the same time in the early hours of Wednesday on Instagram, a popular social media platform with younger voters.
Commentators said the coordinated post showed that the parties were determined to create a narrative in which they would be a central, binding force at the heart of any alliance.
But neither side has tried to disguise the scale of the challenge. Asked on Monday about any similarities between them, Baerbock quipped: “I am around the same age as Christian Lindner, and he and Robert Habeck are both men.”
Scholz, currently finance minister in Merkel’s coalition, is keen to do a deal with the Greens, which won 14.8% of the vote, and the FDP, which got 11.5%, by Christmas and says he has a mandate from voters to form a government if possible.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has congratulated Scholz on his election success, her spokesperson said.
If negotiations collapse on a coalition between the SPD, Greens and FDP, the two smaller parties may approach the conservatives who have said they are open to talks.
(Reporting by Madeline Chambers and Paul Carrel; Additional reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Catherine Evans and Hugh Lawson)
Source Link German Greens, FDP cosy up as coalition dance begins