The three-party exploratory talks for the formation of Germanys new government failed late Sunday night after the Free Democratic Party (FDP) pulled out due to unbridgeable differences in immigration and energy.
FDP leader Christian Lindner said after the decision that there was no basis of trust with German Chancellor Angela Merkels bloc of CDU (Christian Democratic Union) and CSU (Christian Social Union in Bavaria) and the Green Party.
We dont blame anyone for sticking to their principles. But we also do so ourselves. We were voted for to reverse the current trends, but we couldnt reach an agreement. It is better not to govern than to govern badly, Lindner said on Twitter.
Andreas Scheuer, CSUs general secretary, told German TV channel ZDF that the major unbridgeable difference on Sunday was migration. The union and the FDP wanted a limit on immigration, which the Greens did not want. Moreover, the Greens demanded family reunions for refugees.
In addition, the three parties also differed on climate policies, coal-fired power plants and finance. The Greens called for a reduction in coal-generated power of eight to 10 gigawatts, while the other parties expressed concerns about job losses.
Merkel is now facing the biggest political crisis since she took office 12 years ago. If the FDP refuses to rejoin the talks, Merkel may have to form a minority coalition or hold a new election.
Although the union bloc received the most votes in Germanys federal election on Sept. 24, it only got 32.9 percent of the vote, meaning the conservatives needed the FDP (10.7 percent) and the Greens (8.9 percent) to represent over 50 percent of voters.
The three-party coalition was the only possible one as the Social Democratic Party (SPD, 20 percent) refused to form a coalition with the union again after a landslide loss in election, and none of the parties,including the Left Party, wanted to cooperate with the far-right Alternative fuer Deutschland (AfD), which garnered 12.6 percent of the vote and became the third largest party after the CDU/CSU bloc and the SPD.
Merkel, who also chairs CDU, told reporters that she regretted the breakdown of the talks, saying she and her conservative bloc believed they were on a path where we could have reached an agreement.
Behind us are four weeks of intense negotiations, said Merkel. The union had left no stone unturned to find a solution.
Merkel also stressed that, as chancellor, she would do everything to ensure that this country comes out well through this difficult time. She will discuss with the board of the CDU on Monday about the way forward.
Horst Seehofer, head of CDUs Bavarian sister party, the CSU, said that an agreement between the four negotiating parties had been in reach, before the FDP withdrew.
Cem Ozdemir, co-chair of the Green Party, said that he and his team had always shown readiness to compromise on key issues. However, the only possible democratic constellation was unfortunately shot down by the FDP, he said.
After the failure of the exploratory talks, the SPD still insisted that it would not join hands with the union.
SPD deputy leader Ralf Stegner tweeted: The result of the parliamentary elections has not changed for the SPD by the long exploratory weeks and statements by other parties.