The Daily Telegraph

Green chief discounts Linke tie-up ahead of German vote

- By Jorg Luyken in Berlin

GERMANY’S Green party candidate to succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor has all but ruled out entering a Leftwing coalition, making a three-way centrist tie-up with the country’s liberals increasing­ly likely.

Citing concerns over the far-left Linke party’s foreign policy, Annalena Baerbock said “if you can’t ensure a government’s ability to act on foreign policy, there is no basis for government”.

Ms Baerbock told the Süddeutsch­e Zeitung that Linke had “sidelined itself ”, an apparent reference to the party’s refusal to commit to the Nato alliance. Polling trends had suggested a coalition of the Social Democrats, Greens and Linke could secure a slim majority in parliament­ary election on Sept 26.

The Social Democrats, led by Olaf Scholz, currently top the polls at 26 per cent. They have refused to rule out a coalition with Linke, who want closer relations with Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

The Greens have lost ground in the polls but Ms Baerbock is still likely to play the role of kingmaker between the Social Democrats and the centre-right Christian Democrats. Her comments make a three-way alliance including the Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats increasing­ly likely.

Liberal on social issues and strong backers of Nato, the Free Democrats also favour big tax cuts, making them uncomforta­ble partners for the Greens, who want to increase the top tax rate to fund a transition from fossil fuels.

Both the Social Democrats and the Christian Democrats could lead a threeparty alliance which would be the first three-way pact at the national level.

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