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As Merkel Exits, Here’s Why Coalition Talks Matter Beyond Germany

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The fragmented vote in the September election, with the SPD winning the most seats and the conservative bloc dropping to second, is forcing disparate parties together. Scholz, who has served as Merkel’s vice chancellor and finance minister since 2018, is negotiating with the environmentalist Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats, or FDP, to achieve a majority. Since the last election in 2017 — when it took Merkel about six months to form a coalition — the SPD, Greens and FDP have gained ground while the conservative bloc is in disarray after slumping to its worst-ever result, leaving it likely to be excluded from power for the first time since 2005. While Scholz’s discussions have started well, Christian Democratic leader Armin Laschet has said that, should they falter, conservatives are still open for their own coalition talks, even as he has signaled he’s prepared to step aside as head of his party. 

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