German envoy briefs mediators on
Story by LUCAS BARASA
15. 02. 2008
Germany Minister of State, Mr
Gernot Erler, at a news conference on Thursday. With him is German
ambassador, Mr Walter Lindner.
Germany has proposed a grand coalition as the best answer to
Kenya’s political crisis.
And German minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office Gernot
Erler has been in Kenya since Tuesday, briefing members of the
Kofi Annan-led mediation talks on how the coalition works.
Mr Erler said the negotiators had taken great interest in the idea
and that he provided them with a copy of the German-style
coalition and constitution.
Under grand coalition, Mr Erler told journalists on arrival from
Kilaguni Lodge where the talks have been going on, the party with
a majority in Parliament takes key positions like prime minister
and Speaker of National Assembly.
In Germany, he said, there were also deputy prime minister and
vice-Speaker positions occupied by the second strongest party.
Other positions including key ministries are shared proportionally
but only the two strongest parties form a grand coalition.
‘‘If the chairman of Foreign Affairs committee comes from one
party, the minister should from the other party.
The most important thing is to have a system where you can balance
at all levels. One party should not dominate,” he said.
The prime minister, he said, plays the major role in the
Government and executive while the president plays a
But in France’s grand coalition, he added, the president yields
His country, Mr Erler said, embraced grand coalition in 2005 after
40 years after a tight election that saw one major party get 224
MPs and the other 222, so that neither had proper control in
Mr Erler, however, warned that it was not easy for two parties
that competed during campaigns to come together after elections.
His country, he added, had a special committee whose members
include the chancellor, leaders of parties and a spokesman of
The team addresses any problem that arises and advises the
“Sustainability and success of grand coalition is very important,”
Mr Erler added that a grand coalition usually faced high
expectations from the electorate.
If formed, he said, a coalition needed to be publicised for the
electorate to know how it worked.
Outcome of talks
Mr Erler is also deputy chairman of the Social Democratic Party
parliamentary group responsible for foreign policy, security,
development, human rights, humanitarian aid and coordinating the
group’s international work. He was slated to return home Thursday
German ambassador Walter Lindner, who was also at the meeting,
said his government was focusing on the announcement of the
outcome of the Annan talks and he did not want to speculate on
what should be done if negotiations collapsed.
He said grand coalition needed mutual trust and confidence of
players for success consensus.