Schulz Says He’d Put German Alliance to Party Vote: Der Spiegel

  • Merkel challenger would repeat consensus vote taken in 2013
  • Move may be used to seek approval for renewed grand coalition

German Social Democrat Martin Schulz told Der Spiegel he’d put any potential coalition alliance after the Sept. 24 election to a consensus vote in his party.

Tapping SPD members to decide whether the party should enter a coalition would mark a “great democratic moment,” Schulz is cited as saying in an interview in this week’s Der Spiegel magazine.

Martin Schulz

Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

Schulz didn’t refer specifically to voting on a renewed coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s bloc. Polls this month continued to show a comfortable lead for Merkel’s Christian Democrats and Christian Social Union grouping over SPD, suggesting an extension of an alliance between Germany’s main parties is a distinct possibility -- and a divisive prospect within Schulz’s party.

“I can’t imagine that our party grass roots would again support a coalition contract” with Merkel’s CDU-CSU bloc, Spiegel reports the SPD’s “Parliamentary Left” group’s spokesman Matthias Miersch as saying. The SPD tapped its membership for the first time in 2013 before agreeing to ally with the chancellor’s party.

Merkel Sees Endgame as Schulz Faces Reality: Campaign Week Five

In a Sept. 12-13 Infratest Dimap poll, SPD slumped to 20 percent while CDU-CSU stayed at 37 percent. For Schulz’s group, that means the prospect of forging a union with other parties apart from Merkel’s may become more elusive after the vote.

Seeking a fourth term, Merkel has in successive tenures encroached on and rebranded policy championed by other democratic parties including the SPD and the Greens. In a town-hall session on Thursday, the German leader reacted with a grimace, then a grin when asked if she would have Schulz as her vice chancellor.

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