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    German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for another round of pre-talks on forming a new German government at the headquarters of her Christian Democratic Union in Berlin Friday, Nov. 17, 2017.

    Negotiations Into Extra Time as Merkel Tries to Hammer Out 'Jamaica Coalition'

    © AP Photo / Michael Kappeler
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    Following an unsuccessful round of negotiations between Germany's major political parties, Chancellor Angela Merkel still hopes to lead a coalition and avoid a fresh round of elections.

    The latest set of talks between German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives, the free-market liberal FDP and the Greens to form a so-called 'Jamaica coalition' broke up at 4am local time on Friday, November 17, but they are thought to have already resumed such as the desperation to break the deadlock.

    Social Democrats to be Main Opposition

    The Social Democrats, who were in a grand coalition government with Mrs. Merkel up until September's election, will be left out in the cold.

    But Mrs. Merkel said on Thursday, November 16, the potential coalition partners had "very different positions" on key policy issues but she added:

    "I believe it can work."

    Supporters of German Chancellor Angela Merkel of the Christian Democratic Union party (CDU) hold banners before a TV debate with her challenger Germany's Social Democratic Party SPD candidate for chancellor Martin Schulz in Berlin, Germany, September 3, 2017.
    © REUTERS / Fabrizio Bensch
    Supporters of German Chancellor Angela Merkel of the Christian Democratic Union party (CDU) hold banners before a TV debate with her challenger Germany's Social Democratic Party SPD candidate for chancellor Martin Schulz in Berlin, Germany, September 3, 2017.

    Volker Kauder, the parliamentary leader of Mrs. Merkel's ruling CDU party, said negotiations could even stretch into the weekend.

    "I believe we should give ourselves a few more days to reach a strong and sensible agreement," said FDP deputy leader Wolfgang Kubicki.

    CDU and FDP Share Pro-Business Agenda

    Although the CDU and the FDP have been in coalition many times before and both have a generally pro-business agenda, they do not have enough seats to rule alone and are seeking to bring the Greens on board.

    But all three parties are keen to avoid fresh elections, fearing it may boost the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) even more.

    The AfD broke through the five percent threshold to gain their first seats in the Bundestag with their solidly anti-immigration stance.

    The coalition talks are based on a 62-page working document which would form the blueprint for an agreement.

    Differences Over Migration Policy

    But there are understood to be wide differences over policy, with the Greens especially at odds with the CDU/CSU and FDP over migration.

    Delegates vote during the first plenary session at the German lower house of Parliament, Bundestag, after a general election in Berlin, Germany, October 24, 2017.
    © REUTERS / Hannibal Hanschke
    Delegates vote during the first plenary session at the German lower house of Parliament, Bundestag, after a general election in Berlin, Germany, October 24, 2017.

    The Greens have been urged to soften their demands for asylum seekers to be allowed to be reunited with family members in Germany but they are in no mood to compromises, having already abandoned a key campaign pledge for coal-fired power stations and petrol combustion engines to be phased out by 2030.

    One subject where there is little disagreement between the parties is Brexit — there is not a single mention of it in the 62-page document.

    According to recent surveys most Germans are hoping coalition talks will succeed and have no appetite for another election.

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    Tags:
    coalition talks, negotiations, German federal election 2017, Free Democratic Party (FDP), Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Alternative for Germany (AfD), The Greens, Bundestag, Angela Merkel, Germany
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