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‘No shift left with us’, vows would-be German kingmaker Lindner By Reuters


By Alexander Ratz

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany will not lurch to the left with a ruling coalition that includes the liberal Free Democrats (FDP), party chief Christian Lindner said on Thursday ahead of a Sept. 26 national election after which he aims to play kingmaker in coalition negotiations.

The FDP has the potential to have a significant influence on the political landscape following Angela Merkel’s departure after 16 years of being in power. Opinion polls show that there is no consensus between the two main parties.

Polling 11-13% now, the FDP would like to rule with Merkel’s conservatives, and probably the Greens, but a late surge by the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) has raised the prospect of a so-called red-green-yellow or “traffic light” coalition.

FDP was dubbed “the party of doctors” and is concerned about alienating its voters. Lindner said that tax hikes were out of the question and suggested a traffic light’ alliance option, which would bring together the FDP and conservatives.

Lindner in Berlin stated that there would be no change to German politics with FDP. He said this even though the SPD won the majority of votes. However, he did not rule out exploring a possible coalition government with conservatives or Greens.

His statement was in keeping with the slogan of Armin Lasschet (CDU/CSU conservative bloc) who is the candidate for Merkel’s successor as chancellor, “We won only enter a ministry of the middle.”

Merkel, who has been in power since 2005 plans to step down following the election.

FDP (the party of late German foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher), has previously been in national governments, most often in coalitions with CDU/CSU and the SPD.

The FDP began talks with conservatives and Greens to form a “Jamaica”, or coalition. It was named for their respective party colours, which are identical to the flag of the Caribbean nation. Lindner, however, walked away in anger and forced a repetition of the awkward “grand coalition” with the SPD.

He is cool this time.

He stated to Reuters this week that he will attend any talks he is invited.

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