Seehofer’s last-ditch attempt to agree on migration issue

Seehofer’s last-ditch attempt to agree on migration issue

After nearly eight hours of talk with the CSU party leadership, Mr. Seehofer said he saw three options: The CSU bows to the chancellor's asylum policy; or, as interior minister, he turns back some migrants at Germany's borders, a riskier option which could destroy the coalition; or, lastly, he resigns as party leader and minister.

Emerging after five hours of talks, Horst Seehofer, leader of Bavaria's Christian Social Union (CSU), told reporters he would remain in his post after a deal with Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) that he said would stem illegal immigration.

The future of Merkel's governing coalition between the CDU-CSU alliance and the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) appeared to hang by a thread, as media slammed what they called a reckless game of chicken.

Germany's constitution prevents federal ministers from outright quitting their positions, and must request to be dismissed by the German President.

Merkel, who has become the key advocate of lax border control in Europe, was opposed to the plans, insisting a European-wide solution was needed to address the problem. Seehofer had initially proposed an immediate rejection of immigrants who have been registered in other European Union countries but later agreed to a phased implementation of the plan, contradicting Merkel's stance on the matter.

"I am glad that this agreement has been reached".

Ms Merkel's CDU relies on the CSU to maintain power through a coalition.

However, Seehofer agreed to see Merkel on Monday before making a final decision.

Rome's hardline Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has stressed that his overburdened country is not ready to take in any more migrants.

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"In the end, the government could fall and an old, proud party could descend into ridiculousness - and all of that to solve a problem that in reality hardly is one", given the dramatically lower numbers of asylum seekers arriving in Germany this year.

Then reports emerged from the CSU that Mr Seehofer had offered to step down both as party leader and interior minister.

He also believes that these elections "would revolve on the immigration issue" with no chance of victory for the Christian Democratic Union.

Barely returned from Brussels where she helped hammer out a European Union pact to control immigration, Merkel was forced on Monday to redeploy her skills on the same subject to pull her shaky coalition back from the brink of collapse.

"She was able to to compromise, but she's totally sold out her political principles with this".

While she still has CDU backing, Merkel is safe.

The SPD, struggling to recover from its worst election result since 1933, is too weak to abandon Merkel and face a new vote.

The new policy is a compromise that allowed Merkel and CSU head Horst Seehofer to defuse their confrontation.

Polls indicate the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), would be among the biggest winners, an unpalatable outcome for Merkel and all other parties.

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