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Currency, United States Finance

German liberal party member blames socialists for political turmoil, says there was 'zero' compromise

A member of the German liberal party blamed the country’s Socialist Party for the recent collapse in coalition talks to form a new government, despite the latter not being involved in the negotiations.

“Keep in mind, why are we in this situation, why did we need four-party exploratory talks. It was because the second-largest party, the social democrats, with 20 percent (of the vote), twice as much as we, one minute after the election came out said, no we’re not going to do it because we have lost so much and we are going into opposition,” Otto Fricke, a member of the Federal Board of the pro-business FDP (Free Democratic Party), told CNBC Tuesday.

Preliminary talks to draw up a new executive in Germany between the FDP, Angela Merkel’s CDU (Christian Democratic Union), its Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU) and the Greens came to an end at the weekend, after the FDP decided to walk out for what it saw as a lack of compromise from other parties.

Fricke from the FDP, who obtained about 10 percent of the vote in the September elections, said that it was the responsibility of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) to support a compromise. The SPD has stated repeatedly that it wants to stay in opposition and rebuild rather than join any coalition government. The SPD had, until the elections, been sharing power in a so-called grand coalition with Merkel’s conservatives.

“They had a coalition with CDU, they worked together and actually the SPD got a lot out of this coalition, the only problem is that they completely failed in their campaign,” Fricke said.

“The president (Frank-Walter Steinmeier) once was a member of the SPD and probably has an idea how we can bring them to a solution,” he added.

Steinmeier is in ongoing consultations with all political parties. He said Monday that political leaders owe it to their voters to reach an agreement. However, if he can’t ensure a deal is reached in the next two weeks, Steinmeier is expected to call for snap elections.

Fricke told CNBC that these elections are unlikely to happen before March next year.

Speaking to CNBC, Fricke said that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party and the Greens didn’t compromise enough during coalition negotiations and that’s why Germany has fallen into political instability.

“If it had been that way (with more compromise), we would probably have a different talk today,” Fricke said.

Media reports suggest that the liberal pro-business party had been offered a lot in talks but decided nonetheless to walk out from the negotiations and send the country into political turmoil.

“When you do ask the Christian Democrats and Greens, who we were talking with, ‘So what did you give us? Where did you make a compromise that was going a way from your program towards our direction?’ The concrete answer is a zero. And that was the problem,” Fricke told CNBC.

Back in September, Merkel’s conservatives suffered their worst election result since 1949 as the German far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) saw a surge in support. The CDU and its Bavarian sister-party the Christian Social Union (CSU) won 33 percent of the vote, but that was down from 41.5 percent in the 2013 election.

Source: cnbc
German liberal party member blames socialists for political turmoil, says there was 'zero' compromise

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