BERLIN (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 compromise 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 three-way tie-up is called a “Jamaica” coalition in reference to the three parties’ colours: black, yellow and green, which match those of the Jamaican flag.
To secure a coalition agreement, the unlikely allies must overcome differences on a range of issues including immigration policy, Europe, tax and the environment.
The CDU/CSU have come to agreement over immigration policy, but it is not clear whether it will pass muster in a full coalition.
Following are coalition-related remarks from senior officials:
“We achieved a joint result (with the Bavarian CSU allies) which I think is a very, very good basis to go into exploratory talks with the FDP and Greens.”
“On Friday, October 20th we will have a first round of exploratory talks with all partners.”
“The parties come from very different starting positions. There will be discussions in a lot of policy areas with the FDP and the Greens.”
“We know that unusual combinations can of course bring the opportunity to find some solutions to things that had seemed unsolvable until now. So now we need to put our noses to the grindstone and see what we can do.”
“We all need to just get started now.”
“Compromises always mean everyone needs to give a bit.”
“We don’t have to govern. There is also the possibility of another grand coalition (between Merkel’s conservatives and the Social Democrats).”
“This is an agreement between the CDU and CSU and far from the result of exploratory talks for a coalition with the FDP and Greens.”
“Further suspension of family reunion for subsidiary protection prevented integration efforts.”
“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 has found with each other will not be the basis for common work (with us) for the next four years.”
“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 mutualization of debt in Europe, the creation of new pots of money.”
Compiled by Berlin bureau, editing by Jeremy Gaunt