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Germany's Greens party willing to explore Jamaica talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU and the FDP

The Greens have voted unanimously to approve exploratory negotiations to form Germany's next government with Chancellor Merkel's CDU/CSU and the laissez-faire Free Democrats. Talks could start by the end of October.

Simone Peter

The Greens unanimously approved exploratory talks with the Christian Democrats (CDU) and the laissez-faire Free Democrats (FDP). Led by Katrin Göring-Eckardt and Cem Özdemir, the Greens top candidates for 2017, a 14-member delegation will begin preliminary negotiations with the two right-wing parties this fall.

"We will make it clear in the talks that we want to achieve environmental progress and more social justice in a land in which the social structure is becoming brittle," the politically adaptable Greens announced.

A three-way "Jamaica coalition" appears the likely government after the Social Democrats ended their partnership with Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU following last Sunday's elections in order to deny the far-right Alternative for Germany the role of leading opposition party.

Watch video 02:12

'Jamaica coalition': The future for Germany?

An unlikely alliance

Özdemir, the Greens' co-leader, told delegates in Berlin that the party would enter into the negotiations with its faithful in mind, but, he said, talks would likely prove complicated. Jamaica — so named because of the parties' colors: black for CDU, yellow for the FDP and, well, green for the Greens — is a "constellation that none of the players wished for," he said.

Göring-Eckardt, who ran alongside Özdemir as co-candidate this year, said that after Sunday's elections the Greens could not simply say that Jamaica "is unfortunately too tough for us." Nevertheless, she said, the talks could fall apart. "I have no fear of entering into harsh negotiations," Göring-Eckardt added.

And Simone Peter (pictured), the party's co-leader, said the Greens would need to go to the table with the FDP and CDU self-assuredly and not allow themselves "to be fobbed off with platitudes and memorandums of understanding." She called on her party to stick up for asylum rights and against imposing harsh austerity on EU members with fewer resources, as the CDU and FDP have done in the past. "For that reason, it is by no means finalized for me that FDP chief Christian Lindner will be the finance minister," she said, referring to the neoliberal party boss and his desired post in Germany's next government.

Should the exploratory talks prove promising, the Greens would vote again on whether to enter into formal negotiations. The CDU and the allied Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) will vote on October 8 on whether to consider talks with the Greens and the FDP.

mkg/jlw (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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