Maassen (left) and Seehofer prior to a hearing before a parliamentary committee. AFP / dpa / Bernd von Jutrczenka
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BERLIN: A clumsy compromise to end a row over the fate of Germany's spy chief has exposed a cruel fact: The parties in Chancellor Angela Merkel's right-left coalition are loveless partners in a dysfunctional relationship that none of them can afford to quit.Polls show both Merkel's conservative bloc and its junior coalition partner, the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), would bleed votes to the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) and the ecologist Greens in any new elections.Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, leader of the Bavarian Christian Social Union, sister party of Merkel's Christian Democrats, stood behind Maassen.The grand coalition only took office in March, nearly six months after last year's election, as there was effectively no other viable governing option following the collapse of talks between Merkel's conservatives and two smaller parties.Nationally, the conservative bloc is polling around 30 percent, down from 33 percent in last September's election.
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