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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Merkel's Coalition Hopes Hurt

BERLIN -- A leader of Germany's Greens on Wednesday knocked down conservatives' hopes that the party would help opposition leader Angela Merkel become chancellor in a coalition government, citing major differences with her Christian Democrats and their pro-business ally.

Meanwhile, Franz Muentefering, the chairman of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's Social Democrats, said he and Schröder would be meeting with the Christian Democrat leadership Thursday to explore if they could form a coalition.

Leading conservatives have floated the idea of adding the Greens to their preferred coalition of the Christian Democrats and the Free Democrats, Merkel's anti-tax ally. The idea has drawn a skeptical response from many in the Greens, a party that is rooted in the protest generation of the 1960s and 1970s but now has strong middle-class backing and generally supports economic reform.

"We as Greens most certainly will not be the auxiliary engine that contributes to the neo-liberal and neo-conservative policies that failed to win a majority getting into the chancellery by the back door," Greens co-chairman Reinhard Buetikofer told Deutschlandfunk radio.

Buetikofer noted that the two sides are far apart on energy policy, with the Greens insisting on sticking to a plan to shut down all Germany's nuclear power plants while Merkel pledged to keep them open.