COLOGNE, Germany — Angela Merkel called on the German Social Democrats to reject a “one-sided” pact that would give the country’s conservative chancellor the opportunity to rule alone without an unwieldy coalition partner.
Merkel, leader of the center-right Christian Democratic Union, on Thursday backed a plan announced this week by Social Democratic leader Martin Schulz for three out of four parties in the national legislature to join forces on some issues. The other parties were left out in the cold.
But she cautioned that the party’s rank and file should not allow Schulz to secure a one-sided deal as he seeks to head off a possible exit from the German political elite by blocking the conservatives from governing alone.
“A coalition without a common decision-making process is no coalition,” Merkel said. “I’m more than conscious of that.”
The latest drama in Germany’s fraught national political scene followed Schulz’s sudden announcement that he was leaving the party’s high command to run for chancellor next year. With polls consistently showing him far behind the conservative leader in voter preference, Schulz abruptly replaced the party chairman, Sigmar Gabriel, in an effort to change the mood within the party.
Gabriel announced this week that he would not challenge Merkel for the party leadership, preferring to support his beleaguered friend as she seeks another mandate from voters.