0330 GMT July 17, 2018
Germany’s constitution does not favor a minority government but that remains an option, Schaeuble, a leading conservative who is now president of the Bundestag (lower house of parliament), told Berlin’s Tagesspiegel newspaper.
A deal between Merkel’s conservative camp (Union) and the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) is her best chance of securing a fourth term in office. But Merkel’s possible coalition partners are angling for concessions beforehand, according to Reuters.
“A stable alliance between the Union and the SPD would be preferable,” Schaeuble said, adding that the chancellor could still form a minority government. “It would work one way or another,” he said when asked about that possibility.
Coalition talks should be completed “sooner rather than later,” he said, noting that the Bundestag was not fully capable of action until a government had been formed.
He noted that President Frank-Walter Steinmeier — who stepped in after Merkel’s talks with two smaller parties collapsed in November — had urged conservatives and the SPD to reach an agreement as soon as possible, and said Merkel and other politicians had supported that call.
Horst Seehofer, head of the CSU Bavarian sister party of Merkel’s conservatives, told DPA news agency a new “grand coalition” should be completed by Easter, which falls on April 1 in 2018.