Blow for Merkel as German talks collapse to form a coalition government

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International desk, November 20: Talks on forming a coalition government in Germany have collapsed, leaving Angela Merkel facing her biggest challenge in 12 years as chancellor.The free-market liberal FDP pulled out after four weeks of talks with Mrs Merkel’s CDU/CSU bloc and the Greens.

FDP leader Christian Lindner said there was “no basis of trust” between them.

What happens next is unclear, but Mrs Merkel is due to meet President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who has the power to call snap elections.

Her bloc won September’s poll, but many voters deserted the mainstream parties.

After winning its first parliamentary seats, the far-right nationalist AfD (Alternative for Germany) vowed to fight “an invasion of foreigners” into the country.

Mrs Merkel said she regretted the collapse of the talks, adding she would meet the German president later on Monday to formally tell him negotiations had failed.

“It is a day of deep reflection on how to go forward in Germany,” she said. “As chancellor, I will do everything to ensure that this country is well managed in the difficult weeks to come.”

Aside from early elections, Mrs Merkel could also form a minority government with the Greens.

German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung called the development the worst crisis of Mrs Merkel’s 12 years in office.

Source: Agencies