The ruling coalition in Germany could break apart if the sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats opts to press for legal action due to her open-door migration policies, a Social Democrat leader said Tuesday.
Thomas Oppermann - head of the Social Democrat (SPD) parliamentary group, which is part of the coalition along with Merkel's CDU and the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) - said that legal action would destabilize Merkel and undermine the basic tenets of democracy.
"I doubt the chancellor would be able to continue governing unscathed without firing her ministers from the CSU," Oppermann told tabloid newspaper Bild, adding that Merkel's CDU and his SPD had a "stable majority" without the Bavarian party - the smallest in the coalition.
The CSU has repeatedly demanded unilateral measures to control migration, including tougher border controls and an upper limit on the number of refugees entering Germany in 2016.
Merkel has resisted such measures and is pushing for cooperation with Turkey to fight the root causes of migration and secure the EU's external borders.
CSU chief and Bavarian premier Horst Seehofer, the most prominent domestic critic of Merkel's policy to keep German borders open, has repeatedly threatened to file a complaint with Germany's Constitutional Court.
Seehofer's cabinet is meeting Tuesday in Munich to debate the legal action.
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