German Grand Coalition Would Curb Opposition Rights, Gysi Says

The grand coalition sought by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Union bloc and the Social Democrats would curb opposition rights and require legal changes, parliament’s prospective opposition leader said.

Opposition rights in parliament are often tied to a minimum share of 25 percent of the seats, Gregor Gysi, caucus chief of the anti-capitalist Left Party, said today on ARD television. A grand coalition would take 80 percent of the seats, leaving the Left and Greens with insufficient representation for checks and balances on the majority in parliament.

“There would be no parliamentary investigation committees, there would be no constitutional court proceedings to examine whether laws comply with the constitution,” Gysi said, adding that Norbert Lammert, president of the parliament, had reacted positively to his concerns.

The SPD approved starting coalition talks Oct. 20 after the party set “essential” conditions for joining up with Merkel’s Christian Democratic-led bloc, including a nationwide minimum wage. Leaders from both factions said the parties will probably negotiate through November with the goal of swearing in a coalition of the two largest parties by Christmas.

In parliamentary debates, members of the ruling coalition would be given 48 minutes of every hour while the two opposition parties would have to share the remaining 12 minutes, Gysi said.

The Left Party is the direct successor to former East Germany’s ruling communists.

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