January 19, 2018 / 3:27 PM / a year ago

No catastrophe if Merkel fails to form coalition: Schaeuble

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany will not plunge into political crisis if Chancellor Angela Merkel’s efforts to form a coalition government with the Social Democrats fail, former finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble on Friday.

“It it works, this is good,” Schaeuble, who gave up his finance portfolio to become president of the Bundestag lower house after an election last year, told Die Welt newspaper.

“If it doesn’t work, it is also no catastrophe. There are other ways it could work.”

Delegates from the left-leaning Social Democratic Party vote on Sunday on whether or not their leaders should push ahead with negotiations on forming a coalition government with Merkel’s conservatives after striking a preliminary deal last week.

In a rare jab at Merkel, Schaeuble was separately quoted by Focus Magazine as saying that Germany was still “suffering” from the decision in 2015 to leave open the country’s borders, allowing the influx of over a million people seeking asylum.

“We are still suffering as a result. I don’t want to trivialize it,” he said.

Reporting by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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