September 7, 2017 / 11:07 PM / in 2 years

Germany's FDP party leader 'can't imagine' three-way coalition

BERLIN (Reuters) - Christian Lindner, leader of Germany’s pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP), distanced himself from a possible three-way coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the pro-environment Greens after the Sept. 24 election.

A street sign for a roundabout stands in front of election campaign posters of Martin Schulz leader of Germany's Social Democratic party SPD, Angela Merkel, German Chancellor and leader of the Christian Democratic Union party CDU and Christian Lindner, the leader of Germany's Free Democratic party FDP in Bonn, Germany, September 7, 2017. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

Lindner told German magazine Focus in an interview published Friday that he saw big hurdles to reaching agreement with the Greens on immigration and energy policies, reducing the prospects for a so-called Jamaica coalition of the conservatives, Greens and the FDP.

“In the meantime, I can’t imagine a Jamaica coalition,” Lindner told the magazine.

Merkel’s conservatives were at 37 percent in the latest Infratest dimap poll, versus 21 percent for the Social Democrats (SPD), their lowest reading since early January.

The anti-immigration, euro-hostile AfD came in unchanged at 11 percent, making it the third-strongest political force, followed by the radical Left party with 10 percent and the FDP at 9 percent, while the Greens scored 8 percent.

The fractured political landscape could make it hard to form a viable alliance other than the current grand coalition between Merkel’s CDU/CSU and the SPD.

Political experts say they are sceptical that the other possible option - the Jamaica coalition - could work, given significant differences between the parties and the fact that such an alliance has never been tested on the federal level.

Lindner’s comments to the magazine underscored the problems facing such a coalition.

Meanwhile, Sahra Wagenknecht, head of the radical Left party, signalled her willingness to compromise with the SPD to permit the possibility of a so-called “red, red, green” coalition among the SPD, Left and Greens.

“Of course there can be compromises,” Wagenknecht told the RND chain of newspapers, citing labour law and inheritance taxes as possible areas where the Left party would be willing to make concessions.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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