Germany’s biggest parties agree to open talks for new coalition

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is flanked by Bavarian governor Horst Seehofer, left, and Social Democratic Party Chairman Martin Schulz during a joint statement after the exploratory talks between Merkel’s conservative bloc and the Social Democrats on forming a new German government in Berlin, Germany, Friday, Jan. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

There’s been a breakthrough in talks to form a new coalition government in Germany.

As CGTN’s Guy Henderson reports from Berlin, they will have an impact on politics beyond the German capital.

After a marathon week, the parties of left and right came together. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was still at the center of a deal that brings a new coalition government one step closer.

“The CDU unanimously approved the results of the exploratory talks, at which many participated and which was based on a broad foundation. And we will recommend our party to begin talks on forming a stable government,” Chancellor Merkel said.

Journalists were all set for a concluding statement on Thursday night but it never came. Instead, an all-nighter for negotiators, with senior party members apparently doing all they could to stay awake so that when their chance came, they’d be there to give credit to all sides.

“I believe that the Chancellor negotiated very well but the Social Democrats too achieved quite a good result. Once this is put together something good for our country will come out of it,” stated Thomas De Maiziere, German Home Affairs Minister.

This was not an end to the uncertainty though despite attempts to reassure. “Germany will keep its role of strength within Europe when the next German government is built on the basis of this document. This is also a German answer to the proposals from Paris and Brussels [for European Union reform]. We are determined to use the economic and political power of Germany to once again make Europe the great project it is,” said Martin Schulz, leader of the Social Democratic Party.

Germany’s DAX reacted positively to the breakthrough.

This week was only about agreeing on the terms to start coalition talks and even that must be signed off by the rank and file of the Social Democrats next weekend, in a vote that experts say is still too close to call.

The next hurdle will be the actual negotiations. A government by the end of March was what those inside this building hope for. That’d be six months since the election. There is still plenty that could prevent that.