German Greens and FDP brace as coalition dance begins

  • The Greens, kingmakers of the FDP after the elections that the SPD has just won
  • The FDP will meet its preferred conservative partner and then the SPD this weekend
  • Two small parties at odds over many policies
  • Instagram post goes viral and is the subject of joke posts

BERLIN, Sept 29 (Reuters) – Germany’s Greens said on Wednesday they had had a good first round of talks with the Free Democratic Liberals (FDP) and planned to meet them again, although the two “doers of kings” disagree on the most important partner. join a new coalition government.

The Greens’ upbeat message from Annalena Baerbock came after a smiling selfie of the FDP and Greens leaders together at a first meeting on Tuesday evening went viral, with the comfort of the allies’ unlikely reunion sparking a series of jokes .

The Greens and the FDP, which are at opposite ends of the political spectrum and to differ on a range of issues, have moved to center stage after the Social Democrats (SPD) won Sunday’s election by a narrow margin that leaves them looking for partners.

The centre-left SPD and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc, which have sunk to a record low, would need the centre-right FDP and the left-wing Greens as partners in securing a parliamentary majority for a coalition government.

Baerbock’s Greens favor a three-way alliance with the Liberals and SPD, while the FDP would prefer the two smaller parties to join forces with Merkel’s Conservatives.

“The SPD is the election winner after this federal election and so it is crucial for us to hold these talks now, but we are talking to all parties,” Baerbock told reporters ahead of a weekend meeting with social- democrats.

Of her Tuesday evening talks with the FDP, she simply said, “We had a good discussion yesterday.”

FDP general secretary Wissing said he could not reveal anything about talks with the Greens as the small circle had agreed to remain silent, but that a larger group of people from both parties would meet again on Friday .

After that, the FDP would have preliminary talks with the Conservatives on Saturday and the SPD on Sunday. He declined to speculate on the outcome but made it clear once again that the FDP’s preferred partner was the conservative CDU/CSU bloc.

“We justified this in terms of content, and since the content that the parties showed up with has not changed, that of course remains our preference,” Wissing told reporters.

PHOTO GOES VIRAL

The photo of Greens leaders Robert Habeck and Baerbock with FDP leader Christian Lindner and Wissing in an unknown location appears to send an optimistic message about the prospects for party collaboration.

“We seek common ground and bridges between divisions. And even find some,” read the caption under the photo in which they were all smiling. “Exciting times.”

Within hours, the photo went viral and was the subject of numerous jokes online. Some posts have manipulated the images to show the four wear masks or by superimposing the faces of other politicians on top. Others showed the four as a pop group. On one they to sing the 1979 disco hit “We Are Family”.

All four posted the photo at the same time in the early hours of Wednesday on Instagram, a social media platform popular with young voters. Read more

Commentators said the coordinated message showed the parties were committed to creating a narrative in which they would be a central and binding force at the heart of any alliance.

Scholz, currently finance minister in Merkel’s coalition, is keen to strike a deal with the Greens, who won 14.8% of the vote, and the FDP, who won 11.5%, by Christmas and says that he has a mandate from the voters to form a government. if possible.

Chancellor Angela Merkel congratulated Scholz on her electoral success, her spokesperson said. Read more

The Conservative candidate to succeed Merkel, Armin Laschet, also congratulated Scholz on his first place finish in the election, the CDU said on Wednesday. Lachet had been the subject of much criticism for not having done so sooner.

Editing by Catherine Evans, Hugh Lawson, William Maclean

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