BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s would-be successor, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, urged the Social Democrats on Sunday to remain part of the government with the Christian Democrats, adding the current coalition agreement provided the basis to move forward.
Two leftist critics of Merkel’s conservatives, Norbert Walter-Borjans and Saskia Esken, won a contest on Saturday for the leadership of the Social Democracts (SPD), casting doubt over the future of the current government.
Walter-Borjans and Esken have said they want to renegotiate the coalition agreement to increase focus on issues closer to the SPD’s values, including social justice.
“I think it is good that the SPD has made a decision,” said Kramp-Karrenbauer, who as head of the CDU is hoping to succeed Merkel as chancellor. “It paves the way to return to business. For the CDU (Christian Democrats)it is quite clear: we stand by this coalition. We stand by this coalition on the basis that has been negotiated.”
Several other leading conservatives on Sunday ruled out talks to renegotiate the governing agreement.
Kramp-Karrenbauer said there were numerous topics that required urgent attention as part of the coalition agreement, including a mediation process for the government’s climate change package and finalizing a law managing the exit from coal-fired power plants.
“For the CDU that’s the basis to do business, on this basis we are prepared to govern Germany.”
Walter-Borjans and Esken beat a rival duo consisting of Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and Klara Geywitz.
Reporting by Sabine Siebold; Editing by Frances Kerry