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Cablegate: Germany Could Have New Coalition Government Within

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHRL #1296/01 2891501
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 161501Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5511
INFO RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L BERLIN 001296

NOFORN

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/15/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL
SUBJECT: GERMANY COULD HAVE NEW COALITION GOVERNMENT WITHIN
TWO WEEKS

REF: BERLIN 1271

Classified By: Political Minister Counselor George Glass for reasons 1.
4 (b,d).

1. (C//NF) Summary: A well-placed Free Democratic Party
(FDP) source told Emboffs October 15 that Chancellor Angela
Merkel aims to finish coalition negotiations between her
Christian Democratic Union, the Christian Social Union, and
the FDP by October 18, but that the FDP viewed a completion
of October 23 to be more feasible. Either date would allow
the parties to hold conventions to approve the agreement
during the following days and enable the Bundestag to elect
Angela Merkel Chancellor on October 28, one day after the
first scheduled meeting of the new Bundestag. FDP source
said that in any case, the virtually certain future Foreign
Minister Guido Westerwelle would want to do the Chancellor
"the favor" of ensuring her election before her upcoming
visit to Washington on November 2. A worst case scenario --
and least likely -- is that she would be elected by November
8, source said, just prior to the November 9 fall of the Wall
anniversary. Source provided Emboffs with a list of the 15
mostly domestic-oriented points included in the FDP campaign
platform that it wants to see included in the coalition
agreement, including withdrawal of the remaining
non-strategic nuclear weapons from German soil, the only one
addressing foreign policy (reftel). End summary.

2. (C//NF) Source provided Emboffs with a schedule of the
next days of the coalition negotiations. The schedule showed
that the various working groups of the negotiations would
each report to the plenary (see reftel) October 16-17, with a
smaller group of the plenary then meeting on October 17 to
iron out disputed issues and beginning discussions on
division of the ministerial portfolios between the parties.
Chancellor Merkel, source said, hopes to wrap up the
coalition negotiations on October 18 after a full-day plenary
session, a goal he described as "very ambitious but
possible." Source noted that the FDP was not as optimistic
that a conclusion could be reached as of October 18, and
scheduled three more plenary sessions for October 21, 22 and
23. He noted that it is feasible that a coalition agreement
could be concluded by that date and that the three parties
would then hold conventions to approve the agreement in the
days following.

3. (C//NF) This schedule would enable the Bundestag to then
elect Merkel as Chancellor October 28, the day after its
first plenary. Source noted, however, that the FDP has
alerted the party of three possible party convention dates:
October 25 -- if things go as plans, November 1 -- if
negotiations are prolonged, or November 8 -- worst case
scenario. Source said that it would not be "unattractive"
for Westerwelle to attend the EU Summit October 29-30. This
would be a good "debut" for Westerwelle, he added. In the
event negotiations are prolonged, source said that
Westerwelle would like to do the Chancellor "the favor" by
enabling her to be elected Chancellor before she travels to
Washington November 2.

4. (C//NF) About the actual negotiations, FDP source
provided Emboffs with 15 points from their election platform
that the FDP would like to see included in the coalition
agreement. The majority of the 15 points focus on domestic
economic and social issues, including structural tax reform,
amendments to the social welfare and pension systems, and
support for education. The points also include the goal of
ending what is termed "unnecessary and ineffective" measures
to censor the internet and preventing domestic military
deployments. The final point, and the only one that concerns
foreign policy, calls for "entering negotiations with our
allies" in order to achieve a withdrawal of nuclear weapons
stationed in Germany during the next legislative term.
(Note: In response to Emboff questions, source said that the
goal really is to develop a plan for the withdrawal of the
nuclear weapons. End note.) FDP source said that
conscription is a disputed issue that is still under
discussion. Regarding Turkey's EU membership, FDP source
said that the FDP would rather not include anything on this
subject in the agreement, arguing that it will not be at
issue during the next four years.

5. (C//NF) FDP source assessed that about 85 percent of the
issues will be decided during this coming weekend. The FDP
intends to keep the remaining 15 percent of the issues open
and use them as bargaining tools for decisions on the
division of ministerial portfolios. Regarding portfolios,
FDP source commented off the record that current Interior
Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble had been trying to serve as the

CDU's "grey eminence," seeking to exert influence over many
of the working groups, beyond his own working group of
internal security. Source said that the FDP viewed his role
negatively, and that he was referred to within the FDP as "an
angry old man." He indicated that he hoped the CDU would
also view his role as counterproductive. Source, however,
noted that the agreement will only state which ministerial
portfolios each party will receive, without providing any
names. He stressed that it is up to each party to then
decide who will fill those positions.


Murphy

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