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Merkel aide warns against protracted coalition talks as TV debate nears By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: German Prime Minister Angela Merkel gesticulates during a Tirana Business Park news conference in Tirana (Albania), September 14, 2021. REUTERS/Florion Goga/File Photo

By Andreas Rinke

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff called on political parties to agree quickly on who should succeed her after next Sunday’s election and avoid the kind of protracted coalition talks that followed the last vote four years ago.

On Sunday night, the top candidates for chancellor will face each other in an end-of-primetime TV debate.

Merkel won’t be leaving office anytime soon due to the possibility of lengthy coalition talks following the election. Merkel remains as chancellor, until a majority vote of Bundestag members elects a successor. Then she is sworn in.

Helge Bran told Reuters that her wish was for a rapid government formation. Helge added that while the existing government would still govern in the upcoming coalition talks, certain restrictions were placed on who could lead.

So I caution against losing time because of a long government formation. It is possible to ask the parties for their preference after the election about their preferred coalitions – in order not lose endless time during discussions.

Merkel has no restrictions until her successor is elected, however she is an open-minded consensus seeker. Previous chancellors did not take radical decisions in this period.

It took six months for the government to be sworn into office after Germany’s 2017 general elections.

Braun made these comments as Bild am Sonntag’s latest INSA poll shows that the Social Democrats (SPD), stable at 26% from one week ago, has 26% support. Meanwhile, Merkel’s conservative bloc, which includes the centre-right Christian Democratic Union in Bavaria, and the Christian Social Union in Germany, have gained half a point, to reach 21%.

According to polls, the gap between the Social Democrats and their respective candidates for the chancellor is wider. This reflects the struggle that conservative Armin laschet has against Olaf Scholz (Social-Democrat)

The final of three primetime TV debates will be held on Sunday at 8:15 PM (1815 GMT). Annalena Baerbock, Greens’ third-ranked candidate in the polls, will host the clash.

According to current polls, the picture is highly fractured as voters flock to smaller parties. There are many possible coalition scenarios and this will give the liberal Free Democrats a role in any future talks.

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