Wednesday , January 24 2018

Merkel enters final stretch of initial talks to form government

epa06324915 German Chancellor Angela Merkel, arrives at the federal state residence of Baden Wuerttemberg in Berlin, Germany, 12 November 2017. The Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Greens and the Free Democratic Party (FDP) are holding talks to form the next Government after the general elections in September.  EPA-EFE/OMER MESSINGER


German Chancellor Angela Merkel is entering the final stretch of preliminary talks to form a new government as factions in the complex multi-party negotiations remain far apart on issues including migration, climate and European policy. Entering a fifth week of negotiations between Merkel’s Christian Democrats, her Bavarian CSU sister party, the pro-market Free Democrats and the environmental Greens, the parties face a self-imposed deadline of Thursday to wrap the exploratory talks. The Greens over the weekend warned the talks could collapse.
“Something has to move within the negotiating groups in the remaining days — only then can we do this,” Green co-leader Katrin Goering-Eckardt told Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper. Juergen Trittin, the veteran former Green environment minister, told Tagesspiegel that “not a single point from our 10-point plan has been implemented — for the Greens, the score is zero-to-10.”
Merkel has maintained a low profile after emerging victorious but weakened in the Sept. 24 election, focusing on forging a four-way coalition that’s had no precedent in the 68-year history of the federal republic. Although talks have made progress on education spending and digital expansion, the parties have struggled to find a common line on Germany’s refugee crisis and the country’s climate goals.
Party leaders met to set age-nda for the week. Officials aim to establish a written preliminary agreement, which the Gre-ens plan to put to a party conference vote on November 25.

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epa06396952 Outgoing African National Congress (ANC) President Jacob Zuma (C) shares a light moment during a walk over the 54th ANC National Conference held at the NASREC Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa, 18 December 2017. President Cyril Ramaphosa Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma succeeds outgoing ANC President Jacob Zuma and becomes the 4th ANC President since the end of Apartheid. The ruling ANC has been reeling recently under allegations of corruption and and loss of support from its core voters. The ANC (African National Congress) formally led by Nelson Mandela, led the country to freedom from white rule and the Apartheid system during the first free and fair elections in 1994. The convention ends 20 December 2017.  EPA-EFE/KIM LUDBROOK

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