German liberals accuse Merkel of U-turn on euro zone rescues


BERLIN, April 21 (Reuters) - Germany's liberal Free
Democratic Party, a potential kingmaker after September's
national election, ruled out joining any coalition that would
provide a financial bail-out to another euro zone country
without the participation of the International Monetary Fund.
    The FDP leader, Christian Lindner, made the comments on
Friday after Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on
Thursday any new aid programme should not include the IMF,
leaving it under European auspices [nL8N1HS50T].
    Accusing Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives of making
a U-turn on euro zone rescues, Lindner opposed Schaeuble's idea
of developing the euro zone's European Stability Mechanism (ESM)
rescue fund into a European monetary fund.
    "The FDP would not support such a policy," Lindner told
reporters. "For us, it's an absolute condition that the
independent expertise and the capital of the IMF continue to be
an institutional part in future aid packages in Europe."
    Lindner said a European version of the IMF would not be
politically independent and a minority of stability-oriented
euro zone countries, such as Germany, would be outvoted by a
majority of fiscally lenient countries.
    The business-friendly FDP was the junior partner in Merkel's
2009-13 conservative-led coalition. But it crashed out of
parliament after failing to clear the 5 percent threshold to win
seats in the current lower house Bundestag.
    Opinion polls suggest six party groups, including the FDP,
will enter parliament after the Sept. 24 election, up from four
now. Neither Merkel's conservatives nor the SPD would be able to
govern alone, opening the way for talks with smaller parties in
their efforts to forge a stable coalition government.

 (Reporting by Michael Nienaber, editing by Larry King)
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