German gov’t rules out re-negotiation of coalition agreement

German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Monday that “re-negotiation of the coalition agreement is not on the agenda” and Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) was willing to cooperate with the new Social Democratic Party (SPD) leadership “as is usual in a coalition.”

Seibert’s remarks came after the surprise victory of Saskia Esken and Norbert Walter-Borjans as SPD party leaders on Saturday. Both of them are coalition critics, local media reported.

CDU leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer also rejected the desire of the elected SPD leadership to open up the current coalition agreement to re-negotiation.

Both Esken and Walter-Borjans have signaled that they would not immediately break with the governing coalition with Merkel’s CDU/CSU bloc.

At the upcoming SPD conference, party members would only debate how the SPD should “approach” its government partner to change the coalition agreement, Esken said.

Walter-Borjans has also been moderate in tone and made clear that he was not against the coalition in current government in general, although did not consider it to be the “correct political long-term solution” for Germany.