February 20, 2018 / 4:46 PM / a year ago

'Dogs can't vote': Germany's SPD embarrassed by new canine member

BERLIN, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) were forced on Tuesday to declare that a three-year old dog called Lima would not be allowed to vote with party members on a coalition deal with Angela Merkel’s conservatives, despite joining the party.

Top-selling Bild daily splashed a photo of a floppy eared brown and white dog wearing a red scarf, the SPD’s colour, on Tuesday under the headline: “This dog can vote on the grand coalition”.

The paper reported how Lima had received a party card after an application was apparently made on the dog’s behalf to become a party member on Feb. 6. Personal details on the application included her gender and put her occupation as unemployed and her age at 21, in dog years.

The daily did not disclose who originated the application.

All party members are entitled to vote in the postal ballot which started on Tuesday and ends on March 2 on a coalition deal for Europe’s biggest economy which could decide the future of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

If SPD members reject it, the SPD will not be able to share power with the conservatives and either a new election or minority government is likely.

Andrea Nahles, expected to be chosen as SPD leader in April, was forced to respond to the question posed by Bild, whether manipulation of the vote was possible.

“A dog can’t vote,” Andrea Nahles said, saying the party would look into legal steps if there had been deception over a party member’s identity.

Bild had no immediate response to a request for comment. (Writing by Madeline Chambers, Editing by William Maclean)

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