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>> German Chancellor Angela Merkel's fate rests in the hands of her rivals in the Social Democratic Party. The center-left party decides on Sunday if it should pursue coalition negotiations with Merkel's Conservatives. Reuters Paul Carrol in Berlin. It's very simple really, it they vote yes, the party leadership can press ahead with the negotiations.
After already last week concluding a preliminary deal that set out a kind of blueprint to go ahead. A lot of party members are unhappy with that deal however, and if they vote no, we're in uncharted territory. Then it's over to Germany's President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, to sort out this mess.
And there are really two scenarios that flow from there, either a minority government, probably led by Angela Merkel, or new elections. The Social Democrats' leader Martin Schulz warned members that a no vote could lead to yet another election. And that could actually further damage their own party, which saw its worst result in 15 years during the last election in September.
So Schulz is scrambling to rally party support for a grand coalition instead. But some members of the party including the leader of its youth wing, Kevin Kuehnert, said the blueprint initially hammered out with Merkel's conservatives falls far short of SPD's own goals. He argues its time for the SPD to reinvent itself.
The possibility of a new election also poses a real threat to Merkel. Many in her Christian Democratic Union are questioning who should lead the party into the future? Over a dozen of Merkel's lawmakers told Reuters that these coalition talks have prompted early conversations about a succession plan. Many in the CDU are in favor of a gradual transition of power that could take two to three years, and would involve Merkel handing the party chairmanship over first.
But Merkel may have other ideas Ideas. Despite getting pounded in the election over Germany's open door policy during the refugee crisis Mutter, or Mother as she's affectionately known, has already indicated she'd run for Chancellor again if it came to it.