Little sign of compromise in German govt showdown

Angela Merkel

Horst Seehofer, Germany's Interior Minister and leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU), said on Sunday that he now saw "no alternative" but to turn back some migrants at the German border, a party source told Reuters news agency.

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) closed lower on Monday in renewed risk-off trade as German chancellor Angela Merkel struggles to keep her coalition together‚ and local data reflected a moribund manufacturing sector.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and German Interior minister Horst Seehofer attend an event to commemorate victims of displacement in Berlin, Germany, June 20 2018.

Seehofer had been in a showdown with the German Chancellor, offering his resignation on Sunday in protest over Merkel's reluctance to accept his plans to reverse the country's generous policies towards migrants. The meeting is set to begin at 1500 GMT.

The CSU is key to Merkel's coalition.

Officials of Merkel's Christian Democrat party broke off their own separate meeting in Berlin about an hour earlier, saying they would resume at 8:30 a.m.

Other parties and the media have slammed what they call a reckless game of chicken, with Der Spiegel commenting: "It is fair to ask: has the CSU lost its mind?"

Faced with a crisis whose epilogue is constantly pushed back, the site of the reference magazine Der Spiegel is acid: "he resigns, he does not resign".

He could defy her orders by ordering border police to carry out his plan, which would force her to fire him and nearly certainly break up the CDU-CSU alliance, or he could accept a humiliating climbdown or resign.

Bavaria's CSU Prime Minister Markus Söder said "we're ready for compromises" and "for us now there is no exit from the government". CDU General Secretary Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said the party believed a European solution was necessary.

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While both parties sought to de-escalate the crisis, Seehofer remained defiant until the last moment, pointing to his leadership of a party that had proved its ballot-box muscle in the past.

Public anger and fear about the newcomers have given rise to the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which entered parliament past year and threatens Seehofer's CSU in Bavarian state polls in October.

Seehofer had initially proposed an immediate rejection of immigrants who have been registered in other European Union countries but later agreed to a phased implementation of the plan, contradicting Merkel's stance on the matter.

The viability of the migration deal struck by Ms Merkel and other European Union leaders this week came under particular scrutiny.

However Seehofer rejected Merkel's assessment that the EU-wide measures would "have the same effect" as his demand to turn away migrants registered elsewhere in the bloc.

The compromise ended the "sister dispute" developed for nearly three years since the 2015 refugee crisis when Merkel chose to open German border for refugees.

He also explains how the Chancellor of Germany's options regarding immigration are narrowing.

Seehofer, 68, has been a headache for Merkel, especially over her open-door migrant policy, and the last three years have been punctuated by a series of showdowns between the two.

Opinion polls point to the AfD making a similarly spectacular entrance to Bavaria's regional parliament in October.

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, was on Sunday night once again fighting for her political future after her interior minister slammed the migration deal she secured with her European Union counterparts last week as "ineffective".

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