German parties aim to have new chancellor in early December

Oct 21, 2021, 7:22 AM | Updated: 7:36 am
Olaf Scholz, center, of the German Social Democratic party (SPD) arrives for coalition negotiations...

Olaf Scholz, center, of the German Social Democratic party (SPD) arrives for coalition negotiations with representatives of the German Green party (Die Gruenen) and the German Liberals (FDP) in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

(AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

BERLIN (AP) — The three parties that hope to form Germany’s new government said Thursday they aim to have the country’s next chancellor in place in early December, but acknowledged that they face a complex task.

The center-left Social Democrats, environmentalist Greens and pro-business Free Democrats opened formal coalition talks following a preliminary deal last week, which set out their priorities but left many open questions.

If the negotiations succeed, the new government will send outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right Union bloc into opposition after 16 years at the helm. Her successor will be Olaf Scholz, who propelled the Social Democrats to a narrow election victory on Sept. 26. He is the vice chancellor and finance minister in the current government.

Twenty-two working groups will be tasked with working through the various policy issues by Nov. 10, after which top party officials would resolve remaining sticking points.

“We are very ambitious and want to have an agreement at the end of November that makes it possible for us to elect a chancellor for Germany and form a government in the week of Dec. 6,” the Free Democrats’ general secretary, Volker Wissing, told reporters in Berlin. The chancellor is elected by the lower house of parliament, or Bundestag.

German coalition talks are an elaborate affair, producing an agreement that sets out details of the government’s program for its four-year term. They have tended to get longer over the years as the country’s political landscape has fragmented, meaning that elections rarely produce parliamentary majorities for traditional allies.

In this case, the Free Democrats — who for four decades have mostly allied with the center-right — are linking up with two traditionally left-leaning parties. That is in part because the Union is in turmoil after losing the election, and other parties doubt that it is in any shape to join a new government.

The parties have pledged action against climate change including a faster exit from coal-fueled power, which they aim “ideally” to complete by 2030 rather than 2038 as currently planned.

That’s a key Green demand — but the prospective partners will have to find creative ways to finance that and other promises, since they have agreed to a Free Democrat demand not to raise taxes or to relax restrictions on running up debt. Other plans include an increase in Germany’s minimum wage, sought by the Social Democrats and Greens.

So far, the talks have been relatively quick, and also unexpectedly harmonious and free of leaks.

“We have a good feeling for where the areas of conflict are, so we must approach these directly and deal with them,” Wissing said.

“The mood is good, but we know what a responsibility we three parties now have to successfully and quickly begin coalition talks and bring them to a conclusion,” Social Democrat Lars Klingbeil said.

Their Green counterpart, Michael Kellner, acknowledged that “this is a complex undertaking.”

The Greens plan to put a coalition agreement to a ballot of their membership before the new government can take office.

Follow AP’s coverage of Germany’s transition to a new government at https://apnews.com/hub/germany-election

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

ACLU sues over Nevada county’s hand-counting ballot plan

RENO, Nev. (AP) — The ACLU’s Nevada chapter filed a lawsuit Tuesday against a rural Nevada county and its interim clerk to stop the implementation of the county’s new hand-counting process, which was spurred by false claims of election fraud. The process entails hand-counting all paper ballots alongside a machine tabulator. The lawsuit cites three […]
20 hours ago
Lebanese security officers stand at the entrance of a Byblos Bank branch that was broken into by de...
Associated Press

Depositors storm 4 Lebanese banks, demanding their own money

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanese depositors, including a retired police officer, stormed at least four banks in the cash-strapped country Tuesday after banks ended a weeklong closure and partially reopened. As the tiny Mediterranean nation’s crippling economic crisis continues to worsen, a growing number of Lebanese depositors have opted to break into banks and forcefully withdraw […]
20 hours ago
Aaron Forsberg, minister for economic affairs from the U.S. Embassy, speaks at a conference on bioe...
Associated Press

US vows to supply green-fuel-laggard Japan with bioethanol

TOKYO (AP) — U.S. officials are touting bioethanol in Japan, which trails other nations on using the green fuel made from corn and other crops. The U.S. is a top grower of corn, and an embassy official said the U.S. would be “a reliable supplier” of bioethanol. “American ethanol is a powerful tool for Japan […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

Seattle woman gets probation for massive Capital One hack

SEATTLE (AP) — A former Seattle tech worker convicted of several charges related to a massive hack of Capital One bank and other companies in 2019 was sentenced Tuesday to time served and five years of probation. U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik said sentencing former Amazon software engineer Paige Thompson to time in prison […]
20 hours ago
Former President Donald Trump listens to applause from the crowd as he steps up to the podium at a ...
Associated Press

Trump asks Supreme Court to intervene in Mar-a-Lago dispute

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawyers for former President Donald Trump asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday to step into the legal fight over the classified documents seized during an FBI search of his Florida estate, escalating a dispute over the powers of an independent arbiter appointed to inspect the records. The Trump team asked the […]
20 hours ago
FILE - Kari Lake, Republican candidate for Arizona governor, speaks at the Conservative Political A...
Associated Press

Kari Lake walks back ‘rare and legal’ abortion comment

PHOENIX (AP) — A spokesman for Kari Lake said Tuesday the Republican candidate for Arizona governor didn’t mean to suggest abortion should be legal, saying she’s not calling for changes to abortion laws weeks after a judge ruled that prosecutors can enforce a near-total ban on terminating pregnancies. In her most expansive comments on abortion […]
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
German parties aim to have new chancellor in early December