German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and her new coalition partner liberal Free Democratic have started negotiations to form a new centre-right government,a week after they won an absolute majority in the parliamentary elections.
The leaders of the CDU,its Bavarian sister party Christian Social Union (CSU) and the FDP,on Tuesday worked out a time table for their negotiations and set up 10 working groups to thrash out differences on the main themes of the proposed agreement.
The issues which cannot be sorted out by the working groups will be dealt with at the level of the party leaders.
At the outset of their talks,Merkel,CSU Chairman Horst Seehofer and FDP Chairman Guido Westerwelle expressed satisfaction over forming a new a centre-right coalition government at the national level after 11 years.
They pledged to work together in a spirit of partnership for a fair coalition deal which will lay the foundation for a stable government.
Chancellor Merkel,who secured a second four-year term in the election with the support of the FDP,assured her coalition partners that the negotiations will be held in an atmosphere of “good partnership and fairness.”
She also expressed optimism that in spite of major differences on several issues between the conservatives and the liberals,the talks could be brought to a successful conclusion by the end of this month.
The first round of talks took place in a very friendly and cordial atmosphere and all sides expressed their desire to work speedily and thoroughly for a new coalition agreement,Pofalla said.
FDP’s Niebel said that even though here are sharp differences on several key issues,all sides have expressed their willingness to make compromises.
“We are all united in our position that we want to give politically a new beginning for Germany,” he said.
The business-friendly FDP,which has a strong position in a German coalition than ever before,has been demanding drastic changes in some major policy initiatives taken by the outgoing “grand coalition” between the CDU and the Social Democratic Parts (SPD).
The FDP wants to completely overhaul the country’s tax system to make it easier for the public and to immediately ease the tax burden by reducing the income tax and the trade tax. On the other hand,the CDU has been arguing that the present huge budgetary deficit makes it extremely difficult to accommodate any tax relief in the near future.