Merkel Coalition Won’t Hold, SPD Youth Leader Says

The leader of the German Social Democrats’ youth wing said Monday that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition with the SPD would not survive the next year. 

The awkward alliance has been marred by disputes about immigration and the fate of the domestic spy chief since it took office in March, coming close to collapse twice. Voters punished both Merkel’s conservatives and the SPD in two recent regional elections. 

SPD youth wing leader Kevin Kuehnert, who campaigned against the conservative-SPD tie-up from the outset, said the SPD would be closely watching what happens when Merkel steps down as leader of her Christian Democrats (CDU) in December. 

“Next year is full of [regional] elections and political developments that will have a big impact,” Kuehnert told Deutschlandfunk radio. “I can hardly imagine us sticking together for the year. We have to use our time to prepare for the ‘D-Day’ of snap elections.” 

Kuehnert said he knew hardly anyone who believed the coalition would survive to the end of this parliament in 2021. 

SPD leader Andrea Nahles has said that the SPD leadership, under pressure from a restive membership over flagging polls and disastrous regional election showings, did not discuss quitting the coalition at a meeting last Monday. 

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, the leader of Merkel’s Bavarian allies and a critic of her liberal asylum policies, told members of his Christian Social Union (CSU) that he wanted to resign as party chief, party sources told Reuters on Sunday. 

Seehofer has been a thorn in Merkel’s side for much of the past three years, taking a hard line on immigration. 

Senior CSU member Manfred Weber told the newspaper Bild that Seehofer had said Sunday that 2019 would be a year of renewal and that the CSU leader would announce further details this week.

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