Thursday, 19 April, 2018

Merkel rival puts stronger Europe at center of German election

German SPD wants gay marriage after September election Trump, Putin and Erdogan behave like autocratic rulers: Germany's Schulz
Nicole Thomas | 29 June, 2017, 09:10

Germany's Social Democrats (SPD) are pushing for a vote, capitalising on a surprise shift from conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel. Merkel said the program will be forward looking and will contain "all topics that you would expect from the party".

Germany's parliament is set to vote on a bill to legalise same-sex marriage today after the lower house legislative committee put it on the agenda, its chairwoman said. Meanwhile, as party leader Martin Schulz criticises Merkel's hesitation to debate issues, he has stopped benefitting from her unpopularity following her decision to admit refugees.

An Emnid poll on Sunday showed Merkel's conservatives widening their lead over the SPD to 15 points.

Schulz initially "was presented as an alternative to Madame Merkel", said Gero Neugebauer, a political science analyst at Berlin's Free University.

Schulz has been campaigning for "social justice" through higher taxes for big earners, but surveys three months before the vote suggest that his call has so far failed to translate into support.

A majority of Germans are in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage and have been for a while.

EU Fines Google $2.7 Billion
A 7-year investigation by the European Commission concludes that the search engine benefited from an "illegal advantage". The company will review the decision and consider an appeal.

In almost 12 years as chancellor, Merkel has moved her party to the center and away from conservative orthodoxy, speeding up Germany's exit from nuclear power and ending military conscription among other moves.

The news comes a day after Chancellor Angela Merkel signaled a change in her stance.

FDP Secretary General Nicola Beer told Xinhua "We consider Merkel's proposal to allow a free vote on marriage equality in the Federal Parliament to be a wise one".

Merkel's comments came after the SPD declared Sunday that same-sex marriage would be a red line issue for any future coalition. CDU parliamentarian Stefan Kaufmann wrote on twitter.

Martin Schulz, chairman of Germany's social democratic SPD party and candidate for chancellor poses on stage during an SPD party congress in Dortmund, western Germany, on Sunday. Schultz added that he would seek a parliamentary vote on the issue this week. Same-sex unions are legally permitted in Germany, but the country lags greatly behind their European neighbors and world nations like the United Kingdom and U.S. when it comes to the right of gay marriage and the ability for gay couples to adopt children. "They are living conservative values".

In 2001, the Netherlands was one of the first countries to legalize same-sex marriage.

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