German president urges troubled govt to get to work



BERLIN: Germany’s president is urging the country’s governing parties to remember their “responsibility for a functioning government” after a bout of upheaval that has weighed on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s authority.

Merkel’s fourth-term coalition between her conservative Union bloc and the center-left Social Democrats has been through two major crises since taking office in March. Adding to those woes, Union lawmakers on Tuesday ousted a close Merkel ally as their parliamentary leader in a blow to Germany’s leader of 13 years.

President Frank-Walter Steinmeier told the RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland newspaper group on Thursday that governments should concentrate on substantive work and “citizens expect solutions, not arguments.”

He said the president can’t influence the longevity and harmony of coalitions “but the parties should be aware of their responsibility for a functioning government.”