Two weeks after winning elections with a reduced majority, German Chancellor Angela Merkel took a first step Sunday toward forming a government by trying to unite her bitterly divided conservative camp.
Merkel met for closed-door talks with her Bavarian CSU allies led by Horst Seehofer, who blames her open-door refugee policy for the rise of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.
Seehofer — who faces internal challengers, and state elections next year — has revived his calls to cap refugee numbers at 200,000 a year, a demand Merkel has consistently rejected as unconstitutional.
In an opening salvo Sunday, the CSU published a 10-point list of demands, including a refugee “upper limit”, a broad return to the conservative roots of the centre-right alliance, and a commitment to “healthy patriotism”.
“We must fight the AfD head-on — and fight to get their voters back,” said the text published in mass-circulation Bild am Sonntag, which suggested that “conservatism is sexy again”.