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    Martin Schulz, top candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) for the upcoming federal election, gives a speech during an election rally in Hamburg, Germany, August 31, 2017

    Changing Tides: Martin Shultz to Push SPD Towards Grand Coalition With Merkel

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    General Election in Germany 2017 (39)
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    The move comes as Germany struggles with a major political crisis that may undermine its status as Europe's leading power.

    According to The Guardian, Social Democratic Party (SPD) head Martin Shultz is expected to argue in favor of forming the "Grand Coalition" with Angela Merkel at an upcoming party conference that may decide Germany's future.

    This constitutes a dramatic U-turn on the part of Shultz, who urged against the alliance with the sitting Chancellor's Christian Democratic Party (CDP) merely weeks ago.

    READ MORE: Little Trouble in Big Bundestag: Sputnik's Guide to Merkel's Coalition Fiasco

    Speaking at the press conference following his meeting with Merkel in late November, Shutlz claimed that his party "does not shy away from a new election."

    "We are not available… to enter into a grand coalition", the SPD leader affirmed.

    However, Shultz stroke a more conciliatory tone last week after another meeting with the Chancellor that was organized by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, stating that "it's not automatic that there will be a new Grand Coalition."

    The change of tone reflects the significant pressure that has been mounting on the former President of the European Parliament to find solution to Germany's political crisis following Merkel's unsuccessful attempts to form a government.

    Following her party's victory in the general elections this September, the incumbent Chancellor has been struggling to form a coalitional government, suffering major setbacks.

    In November, the Free Democratic Party, which was expected to enter into the so-called Jamaica Coalition with Merkel and the Greens,  walked out from the negotiating table and stated that it will remain in opposition.

    READ MORE: Failure of Jamaica Coalition Talks Threatens to End 'Era of Merkel'

    After the breakdown of the Jamaica Coalition, the only viable option for Merkel remains the resumption of its alliance with Shutlz's SPD in a Grand Coalition like the one that has ruled Germany for the past four years.

    Shultz's leadership of the SPD may, however, be threatened by the dramatic reversal of his decision not to enter the coalition, as a number of his fellow Socialists are convinced that the party's disappointing performance in the September elections was largely due to their previous alliance with Merkel.

    For example, Deputy Leader of the SPD Ralf Stegner argued that his party should not pursue another Grand Coalition with Merkel.

    "SPD's election tactic (i.e. 'status quo' through the prolonging of the Grand Coalition) was the wrong way to go on September 24 [election day] and remains so on November 20," Stegner said on Twitter.  

    A screen that shows the TV debate between German Chancellor Angela Merkel of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and her challenger Germany's Social Democratic Party SPD candidate for chancellor Martin Schulz in Berlin, Germany, September 3, 2017.
    © REUTERS/ Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland
    Speaking to Sputnik, Stegner later reaffirmed his opposition to entering the government, though he also expressed his disapproval of new elections.

    "We neither want to join the ‘grand coalition' nor to participate in the new elections… That just won't do," the Deputy Leader said.

    The German political crisis continues with no definite end in sight.

    Topic:
    General Election in Germany 2017 (39)

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    opposition, alliance, grand coalition, coalition, party conference, elections, Christian Democracy party, Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), Angela Merkel, Martin Shulz, Berlin, Germany
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