The German parliament will hold a crucial vote today on whether to approve an extension of powers for the eurozone’s financial rescue fund.
The Bundestag is expected to pass the legislation, backed by the opposition Social Democrats and the Green party – but the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, is still struggling to persuade her own ruling coalition to vote in favour. If she is unable to win the support of her Christian Democrat party and their coalition partners, the Free Democrats, Ms Merkel would be expected to hold a parliamentary vote of confidence in her government. The expectation is she would lose such a vote, which would mean early elections.
The Chancellor can afford no more than 19 of her coalition MPs to rebel if she is to carry the vote in her own right. In a trial vote earlier this week 11 members of Ms Merkel’s party rejected the legislation. And between two and five Free Democrat members are expected to do the same, which emphasises just how close today’s vote is expected to be for the Chancellor.