Merkel’s last chance:
Angela Merkel this week began a crucial new round of talks to form a coalition government and retain her 13-year grip on power. Her centrist CDU party and its Bavarian allies, the CSU, had until Thursday to find common ground with the centre-left SPD, led by Martin Schulz. The biggest obstacles to a “Groko”( Grosse Koalition) were expected to include differences over the EU (Schulz recently called for the creation of a United States of Europe) and immigration. The SPD is liberal on immigration, but having recently lost seats to the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany Party, Merkel’s party had decided to limit the influx of refugees and accelerate deportations, while many of her allies in the CSU want even tougher anti-immigrant measures. If no coalition agreement can be reached with the SPD, Merkel will either have to try to lead a minority government – or call a new general election.