BERLIN, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Chancellor Angela Merkel won a fourth term in office in the German national election on Sept. 24, but a fractured vote that brings the far-right into parliament means she must try to work out a three-way coalition untested at federal level.
The new alliance would comprise Merkel’s conservative bloc - her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) - along with the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) and environmentalist Greens.
Such a tie-up is called a “Jamaica” coalition, because the three parties’ colours of black, yellow and green match those of the Jamaican flag.
To secure a coalition deal, the unlikely bedfellows must overcome differences on a range of issues from immigration policy, Europe and tax to the environment. It is unclear whether a CDU/CSU compromise on immigration policy will be palatable to the Greens and FDP.
The CDU came second to the Social Democrats in a regional vote in Lower Saxony at the weekend.
Following are remarks on the possible coalition from senior officials:
“We will not manage without compromises.”
“We’d be well advised not to be perfectionists in the upcoming coalition negotiations but rather to be open and to build trust that a government will be formed that acts sensibly, even during unforeseeable crises.”
On “Jamaica”: “Whether it succeeds, whether a government is formed, is yet to be seen.”
“It will be difficult for all partners ... because our programmes diverge vastly in many areas and because we must now pull ourselves together and see if coalition negotiations are possible or not.”
“We don’t have to govern. There is also the possibility of another grand coalition (between Merkel’s conservatives and the Social Democrats).”
“It can succeed. The most important thing is that trust needs to be built between participants, and that takes time. That’s why it would be illusory to believe we could conclude negotiations by Christmas.”
“No one would understand it if the new government does not pass an immigration law.
“We need a mix of humanity and order. We Greens also want to secure the EU’s external borders and build a sensible database of fingerprints.
“There must be a compromise that nonetheless represents everyone.”
“This (the conservative’s immigration pact) is an agreement between the CDU and CSU, and far from the result of exploratory talks for a coalition with the FDP and Greens.”
“Immigration is not the only issue where the parties have different ideas.”
“I am certain that, in the end, the solution that the CDU/CSU have found with each other will not be the basis for common work (with us) for the next four years.”
“No party can expect the others to accept its original wording without changes ... But I believe that a signal about limiting immigration on humanitarian grounds will ultimately make its way into the coalition agreement.”
“Europe’s fiscal policy needs a shift away from austerity toward a common pact for tax collection and investments, which would trigger social and ecological innovations.”
“A red line for us in coalition talks is the mutualisation of debt in Europe, the creation of new pots of money.
“In a monetary union where the deficit rules of Maastricht are respected, there is no need for permanent rescue funds.”
“What we Christian Democrats call ‘preservation of Creation’ overlaps a lot with what the Greens call a sustainable approach to nature.”
“There can only be a Jamaica tax concept if it includes the end of the solidarity surcharge without taking that money out of people’s pockets somewhere else.”
“The chancellery and the finance ministry should be politically separate. A Greens, a CSU or an FDP finance minister - anything would be better than leaving the finance ministry in CDU hands.”
Compiled by Berlin bureau, Editing by Jeremy Gaunt