Schulz open to ‘grand coalition’

Schulz open to ‘grand coalition’

There are positive signs of a potential break in Germany’s political deadlock as Social Democrat (SPD) secretary General Hubertus Heil announced the party was ready to start discussions with Chancellor Angela Merkel. 

And Martin Schulz (pictured), the party leader, said he would not stand in the way of his party forming another “grand coalition” with Chancellor Angela Merkel, signalling a potential end to the lengthy deadlock since the inconclusive September 24 election.

Former SPD leader, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who is trying to broker a deal, has pushed his former party into the talks. Heil said there had been an eight-hour meeting of the SPD leadership in Berlin, finishing this morning (Friday).

“The SPD is firmly convinced that talks are needed,” Heil said, according to DPA. “The SPD won’t reject such talks.”

Meanwhile, left-wing activists have built a replica of Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial outside the home of an Alternative for Germany parliamentarian to condemn his remarks about ending German guilt over the sins of the Third Reich.

The Centre for Political Beauty erected 24 large concrete blocks outside Björn Höcke to remind the far-right politician of the 6 million Jews murdered under Nazi rule.

A crowd threatened the artists and journalists at the Bornhagen home on Wednesday and several death threats were posted by Höcke’s followers on Facebook and not deleted by the account owner.

Höcke’s told an event in Dresden that Germans were the “only people in the world who planted a memorial of shame in the heart of their capital”, in reference to the 2,711 concrete blocks that were installed in 2005.

He called on Germans to make a “180-degree turn” when remembering its past, calling them “brutally defeated people”. In response to subsequent criticism, Höcke said he was subjected to “a malicious and deliberately denigratory interpretation” of his speech.

Activists had to leave the area near Höcke’s home on Wednesday night for security reasons and the replica memorial was put under police surveillance.

Yesterday (Thursday), Christian Carius, Thuringia’s state parliamentary Speaker, asked for the artists to be provided with “surveillance”.

Within a day, the group met its crowdfunding goal of €69,000 for the upkeep of the memorial. It estimated the costs at €8,400 a year and is now covered until 2022.

Martin Schulz. Picture credit: Wikimedia 

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