Merkel calls for compromise as coalition talks begin
Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel has hinted political leaders need to overcome their differences, as talks between the parties to choose her successor are underway, following last week’s elections.
Speaking at celebrations in the eastern city of Halle to commemorate German reunification in 1990, Merkel said the country has yet another opportunity to shape its future.
“We can discuss how exactly in the future, but we know that the answer is in our hands, that we have to listen and talk to each other, that we have differences, but above all things in common,” he said. she declared.
“Be ready for new encounters, be curious about others, tell your own story and tolerate differences,” said Merkel. “This is the lesson of 31 years of German unity.”
In what has been billed as perhaps her last big speech as chancellor, the longtime leader of Germany appeared to deliver a message to politicians who were haggling to form the next government.
Ms Merkel will step down after 16 years in power once a new coalition can be formed following the outcome of last week’s elections in which her coalition partners, the Social Democrats (SPD) came out on top.
The SPD and its candidate Olaf Scholz narrowly won last week’s vote with 25.7%, with Merkel’s CDU-CSU alliance plunging to an all-time low of 24.1% under beleaguered Armin Laschet .
The two parties are starting discussions with the Greens and the liberal FDP, with whom they must find an agreement to seize the highest post.
“We sometimes take our democratic achievements too lightly,” Merkel said in her speech, calling on the public to “reject radicalization”, referring to a neo-Nazi attack on a synagogue in the city where she was speaking two years ago.
“Diversity and difference” are not threats to society, Merkel added, as Germany has shown in the years following the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The seasoned politician, who lived in the Communist East before reunification, was visibly moved as she described her own struggles against prejudice and called for more “respect” for the personal histories of East Germans.