Partidoes deny three-way coalition talks with green light
Germany's business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP) joined the Social Democrats' (SPD) and Greens on Monday in approving a decision by party leaders to continue with three-way coalition negotiations to form what they called "a government of the middle".
After initial exploratory talks where the three parties agreed on a road map, the FDP leadership and members of parliament voted in favour of the start of negotiations. The Greens and SPD, on the other hand, had already given their approval.
Talks to form a "traffic light" alliance, named after the parties' red, yellow, and green colours, could begin from Thursday, with the goal of putting in oath 'a government by Christmas,' according to party sources.
Such a three-way coalition - the first of its kind at federal level -- would oust conservatives after 16 years in government under Chancellor Angela Merkel, who did not seek re-election.
Christian Lindner, the FDP's leader, said his party would ensure that a shift to the left won't be sparked by this. Instead, theirs would be a "government of the middle".
Lindner stated, "We see opportunities but we also see challenges," noting that there were significant differences between the parties and "a lot of tolerance" would be needed.
The SPD, which was first in last month's election, is expected to lead the coalition, with Olaf Scholz likely succeeding Merkel as chancellor.
Scholz is currently finance minister and vice-chancellor in the outgoing coalition between Merkel's conservatives and their junior partner, the SPD.
He and the leaders of the smaller Greens and FDP announced on Friday they're looking forward to formal coalition talks, releasing the roadmap of points on which they agreed and compromises they had already reached.
Under other measures, the parties agreed to delay a transition from coal-fired power, to avoid tax increases, and to raise the minimum wage.
Should talks with the SPD fail, the Greens and FDP have left open the possibility of turning to the conservatives.