SPD wants Merkel to renegotiate key issues agreed in coalition deal

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for a statement at the CDU headquarters in Berlin, Germany, January 21, 2017, after Germany's Social Democrats (SPD) voted to begin formal coalition talks with Chancellor Merkel's conservatives. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

Vastavam web: Germany’s Social Democrats leader wanted to renegotiate key issues agreed in a coalition blueprint with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives after his party narrowly approved the start of formal coalition talks.That was tighter than many experts had expected, with discontent among the rank-and-file widespread. The SPD leadership tried on Monday to appease critics by demanding that the conservatives make concessions on immigration and healthcare.

An RTL poll conducted on Monday indicated the party’s support had dropped a point to 17 percent, well below the 20.5 percent it won in September, itself a post-war low, and just four ahead of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).SPD General Secretary Lars Klingbeil told the public broadcaster ARD that the SPD wanted to add a “hardship provision” to an agreement that caps the number of family members who can join refugees already accepted in Germany at 1,000 a month.If SPD leaders fail to deliver more, the risk increases that the party’s 443,000 members might reject a final deal when they are asked to vote.

A conservative-SPD ‘grand coalition’ has governed Europe’s economic powerhouse since 2013, and a re-run appears to be Merkel’s best chance of securing a fourth term as chancellor.She said she looked forward to intensive talks on forming a stable government and her priorities were preserving Germany’s economic strength and ensuring social justice and security.