German right won't snub Merkel in Greek vote: ally

Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:42am EST
 
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By Madeline Chambers

BERLIN (Reuters) - Angela Merkel will not need votes from opponents on the left to get a bailout for Greece through the German parliament, a senior ally said on Thursday, despite a growing revolt within the chancellor's conservative coalition.

Less than a year before a general election in which she will seek a third term, Friday's vote on measures agreed by euro zone finance ministers this week to cut Greek debt is widely seen as a test of Merkel's authority over her own supporters.

Since most opposition Social Democrats and Greens will back the credits, there is no doubt the Bundestag lower house will approve the package; but Merkel would like to contain rebellion in her own ranks, so that she does not need her opponents' help.

Volker Kauder, parliamentary floor leader for Merkel's CDU-CSU group, said on Thursday that he was confident the chancellor would achieve that, and added that a big, bipartisan majority in the chamber would also be a positive sign for Europe.

"We will have our own majority," Kauder told ZDF television, "The opposition will cooperate and that is a good signal for Europe and for Greece."

It is unclear exactly how many may vote against or abstain from among Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), their Bavarian CSU allies and coalition partners the Free Democrats (FDP).

Government supporters have 330 out of 620 voting seats. Merkel has failed before to secure the 311 votes from her own camp that represent an absolute "chancellor's majority". She may again fall short, but will hope to limit the rebellion to a level where, even were all her opponents on the left to vote against it, the government's bill would still pass.

With lawmakers conscious of their own re-election battles, politicians have joined some media commentators in becoming more vocal about the cost of Greek aid to German taxpayers. Many say Greece will eventually fail to repay some of the new credits.   Continued...

 
German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives at a cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin November 28, 2012. REUTERS/Thomas Peter