Free Democrats, Greens to hold their own talks before meeting with Social Democrats

The leader of Germany’s Social Democrats said he plans to forge a “social-ecological-liberal coalition” following Sunday’s knife-edge German national vote, as outgoing chancellor Angela Merkel’s party stumbled to second place, leaving it unable to govern on its own, the Guardian reports from Berlin.

“The voters have made themselves very clear,” Olaf Scholz said at a press conference on Monday morning. He pointed out that his center-left party, the Greens and the pro-business Free Democratic party had all picked up significant numbers of new votes at the election, while the conservative Christian Democratic Union suffered a loss in support of almost nine percentage points.

“And that’s why we have a visible mandate that the citizens of this country have formulated,” said Scholz, who is vice-chancellor in the outgoing government.

The Social Democrats took 206 seats, to the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union’s 196 seats in the 735-seat Bundestag.

The Greens and the Free Democrats, who achieved 14.8%  (118 seats) and 11.5% (92 seats) of the vote could form a stronger bloc than either the SPD or CDU/CSU. They will hold exploratory talks with each other before entering negotiations with any other parties, the FDP leader, Christian Lindner, said on Monday.

Merkel will remain chancellor until a new government is installed.

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