Berlin, Oct 20: Germany’s opposition Social Democrats (SPD) held a convention Sunday to vote whether to launch formal negotiations with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives on forming a coalition government.
SPD leaders unanimously agreed on entering into formal coalition negotiations with Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Christian Social Union (CSU) Thursday. But they need the support of 200 senior Social Democrats before the actual negotiations begin.
Once the party convention agrees on the deal, formal coalition negotiations are expected to start Wednesday, more than a month after the end of the Sep 22 elections.
Merkel’s CDU/CSU side won 41.5 percent of the votes, emerging as the biggest party in parliament but still short of a ruling majority.
Both sides have been unwilling to compromise on key issues, including the level of a nationwide legal minimum wage.
The SPD wants to introduce a national minimum wage of $11.35 per hour. Merkel’s party opposes the plan but supports deals struck by employers and trade unions in industry.