Government after the state elections SPD rules out grand coalition in NRW

Düsseldorf · There will be no grand coalition in North Rhine Westphalia after the state elections. The SPD ruled this out on Monday evening. Will there now be a black-yellow coalition?

After the surprising election victory in North Rhine Westphalia, CDU main candidate Armin Laschet now faces difficulties in forming a government. The SPD state leadership ruled out a governing coalition with the CDU on Monday evening. “There will be no grand coalition with us,” said SPD party leader Norbert Römer. The decision was made by the party leadership in view of the majority gained by the CDU and FDP in the new state parliament.

The FDP played a high risk game on the day of the state elections. Leading Free Democrats threatened that the FDP would rather be in opposition than make sweeping concessions to the CDU in coalition negotiations “We will only agree when there is a true political exchange,” said FDP leader Christian Lindner in Berlin.

On Monday evening the CDU and FDP agreed to initial exploratory talks. A spokesperson for the FDP said Laschet had invited the Liberals although a date has not yet been agreed.

After its worst ever result, the NRW SPD is busy reorganising itself without the former state head Hannelore Kraft. Römer said personnel decisions should be made by the summer break. Kraft did not take part in the leadership meeting. The Minister President resigned her party offices with immediate effect on the night of the election.

CDU state leader Laschet signalled a leaning towards the FDP without committing himself. Referring to a very small majority alliance with the FDP, he said before a leadership meeting in Düsseldorf: “You can also govern with a majority of one.” The conditions would be: “lots of consensus and the will to really make things better.” He sees commonalities with the FDP in education, in economic policies and in the removal of bureaucracy. Things are different in the area of internal security.

Before the election, Laschet emphasised several times that the CDU had the most points of agreement with the FDP. However, he also did not expressly rule out a coalition with the SPD. A grand coalition would have a comfortable majority in NRW’s new state parliament.

In the Cologne Anzeiger, CDU expert Wolfgang Bosbach expressed scepticism for a black-yellow coalition in Düsseldorf with only a majority of one.

After the preliminary official results in NRW, the CDU beat the SPD by 33 per cent to 31.2 per cent. The FDP followed with 12.6 per cent. The AfD is entering the Düsseldorf state parliament for the first time with 7.4 per cent. The Greens dropped to 6.4 per cent and the Left Party, with 4.9 per cent, was around 8,500 votes short of those required to enter the state parliament. The NRW Pirates gained 1 per cent. Participation in the vote rose from 59.6 per cent to 65.2 per cent. It is expected the new state government will first convene on 1 June. There is no time limit for voting for a new Minister President.

Original text: ga. Translated by Kate Carey.

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