Will Conservatives, Social Democrats form a 'grand coalition' and give Merkel a lifeline?

The head of Germany’s Christian Social Union gave his support for an alliance with Germany’s Social Democrats on Sunday, raising hope of a grand coalition in the country and throwing a political lifeline to its embattled Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Although Merkel won a fourth term in late September, political deadlock set in since three-way coalition talks collapsed a week ago between her party, the pro-business Free Democrats and the Greens.  

“An alliance of the conservatives and SPD is the best option for Germany—better anyway than a coalition with the Free Democrats and Greens, new elections or a minority government,” Horst Seehofer, head of Bavaria’s CSU, told Bild am Sonntag, reports Reuters.


Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Chancellor Angela Merkel and Christian Social Union (CSU) Bavaria State Premier Horst Seehofer address a news conference in Berlin, Germany, October 9, 2017.     REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke - RC128622A590

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is seeking a grand coalition. Otherwise, new elections may have to be held.  (Reuters)

The SPD was under intense pressure to preserve stability and avoid new elections -- analysts believe they would boost the far-right Alternative for Germany, which won 94 seats in the Bundestag in the elections -- and be detrimental to Merkel.

Reuters reports that Merkel said the acting government under her leadership can keep working until a new coalition is formed, while an Emnid poll on Sunday showed that 52 percent of Germans back a grand coalition.

Even so, the road ahead for Merkel and her party won’t be easy.

“As things stand, Merkel is not in a position in which she can set conditions,” prominent Social Democrat Malu Dreyer told the daily Trierscher Volksfreund on Saturday, reports the Washington Post.