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Germany: Olaf Scholz inches closer to succeed Merkel as chancellor



Olaf Scholz, leader of Germany’s centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) moved a step closer to succeed Angela Merkel as the next chancellor of Germany. On Friday, he announced that he and the leaders of two smaller parties aimed to move into formal coalition talks.

SPD, the Greens and pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) said that exploratory talks into government formation had been constructive and this allowed them to establish a roadmap for more formal negotiations.

Party committees are expected to vote over the weekend on whether to do so, bringing them closer to forming a “traffic light” alliance after their respective red, yellow and green colours – the first of its kind at federal level.

The Greens and FDP have kept open the option of turning to the conservatives, who have been in office for the last 16 years, should talks with the SPD stumble. The conservatives criticised the road map as contradictory and short on detail.

But polls show most voters back a traffic light alliance and even senior conservatives have given up on leading the next government.

“A new start is possible with the three parties coming together,” Scholz told a news conference.

“If parties that are so different could agree on joint challenges and solutions, then that would be an opportunity to unite our country,” said FDP leader Christian Lindner.

It offered “a chance that a possible coalition could be greater than the sum of its parts,” he added.

(With inputs from agencies)


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