2021 federal election: SPD chief expects traffic light coalition by December

sPD Chief Norbert Walter-Borjans assumes SPD, Greens and FDP will have one in December Traffic Light Coalition have negotiated. “The government should be in place before the end of the year. That is feasible’, says Walter-Borjan’s WELT AM SONNTAG.

“This time we don’t have to gauge until we drop, because we want a traffic light in which all three partners contribute their strengths. From that perspective, we could start formal coalition negotiations in October and conclude by December.”

That’s the schedule for the exploratory conversations

The FDP and the Greens consult together first, followed by individual meetings of the parties with the SPD and the Union. A compromise is already being made: the Greens could do without the speed limit.

One must learn from the failure of negotiations between the Union, the Greens and the FDP in 2017 and change the way exploratory talks are conducted, the SPD party leader demands. “I don’t think it makes sense to go into too much detail right from the start. You need a great common line and a common story. We have to define that together very early on,” says Walter-Borjans.

“Even later, every detail does not have to be laid down in a coalition agreement. It is more important than a comprehensive provision that we agree on mechanisms to respond to certain challenges,” said the party chairman.

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The claim of party vice Kevin Kuhnert after a member survey about a coalition agreement with the liberals and greens, the party leader did not participate. Of course, “an advance directive from the members is important”, according to Walter-Borjans.

“We don’t want to go back to times when the party leadership is negotiating something and then sends an email to the grassroots with the request, wave the flag and be happy.” On the other hand, there is great unity in the party.

Scholz central figure – for everyone

“The Social Democrats want the party to rule, they are for the traffic lights. To this end, we have developed a program together and our members are very widely involved. In that regard, I do not see a member survey for the upcoming party congress as absolutely necessary, other forms of participation are also conceivable,” said Walter-Borjans of the newspaper.

Before starting the explorations with the Greens and the FDP this Sunday, he referred to the interfaces with the three parties, but also to the prominent position of the SPD in a traffic light coalition.

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“Formally, the upcoming talks are negotiations between parties, so the party leaders have a special role. But the goal is to form a government whose chancellor should be Olaf Scholz,” said Walter-Borjans. “In this regard, he is the central figure – for everyone, not just for the SPD. After all, if he is chancellor, he has the power to issue directives. This is what the Basic Law wants.”

In view of SPD faction leader Rolf Mützenich’s warning to the Greens and FDP not to repeat the mistakes of the failed 2017 Jamaica explorations, Walter-Borjans said: “But that the head of the largest parliamentary faction in the German Bundestag in one Interview expects serious and purposeful negotiations and claims that his party provides the chancellor, who in turn determines the guidelines of government policy in accordance with Article 65 of the Basic Law, is his job.”

‘We do not want to merge, the differences between parties must remain’

A possible traffic light coalition and a Jamaica alliance will be discussed after the general election. SPD Bundestag member Ralf Stegner firmly believes in an agreement under SPD chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz.

Mützenich’s statements had caused irritation among the Greens and the FDP. Reinhard Bütikofer, Member of the European Parliament and one of the two federal presidents of Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen from 2002 to 2008, tweeted: “To stick to the truth: Just under 26 percent of citizens voted for Olaf Scholz. It’s not good for the SPD to wear pants that are too big right now. In a traffic light coalition, the SPD would be one of three minorities.”

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The party leader of the SPD emphasized that there were many similarities in content with the Greens and the FDP: “We don’t want to ‘continue’, but a real departure. I see major similarities between all three parties in the desire to invest massively in infrastructure, mobility and research and development and to stimulate innovation. But we also have a lot in common in social policy.”

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Wolfgang Bosbach in conversation with journalist Tina Kaiser

A continuation of the coalition with the Union is not on the agenda of the SPD. The Social Democrats were “held hostage by the coalition partner” in a number of decisions of the Bundestag in the past parliamentary term. The SPD, Greens and FDP, on the other hand, are particularly close to each other in socio-political terms.

“All three stand for openness to the world, for live and let live, for tolerance and cultural diversity. I am a child of Willy Brandt’s social-liberal era. In this spirit, I would certainly enjoy working with Bündnis90 / Die Grünen,” said Walter-Borjans.

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