Merkel, rival meet German president amid gov't deadlock

Merkel, rival meet German president amid gov't deadlock

The leader of Germany's Social Democratic party on Friday denied reports he had green-lighted talks about another "grand coalition" with Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats.

Schulz met Merkel and Horst Seehofer, the leader of the chancellor's Bavarian allies, on Thursday night for talks hosted by President Frank-Walter Steinmeier aimed at breaking Germany's post-election political deadlock.

"We have a lot of options for building a government".

Merkel would have few problems getting her parliamentary group to go along with talks about extending their current collaboration with the Social Democrats, as there is broad consensus among conservatives that a grand coalition is the only way forward. "As before, I remain sceptical that you can do that by carrying on "business as usual" in a grand coalition".

Schulz said he had telephoned the CDU leader to say that any such claims from her conservatives to the media would be viewed as "a breach of trust".

Merkel this week said she hoped to talk with the Social Democrats "in a serious, engaged, honest way and obviously with the intention of success". Schulz fronts a party which is split evenly down the middle on what he should do next.

The SPD's top brass will then present their recommendation to party rank and file during their congress from Thursday.

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However, several leading Social Democrat politicians have supported a coalition or are backing a minority CDU/CSU government.

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"It's now up to the SPD to provide clarity", said CDU manager Klaus Schueler.

Another senior member of Merkel's Christian Democrat Union (CDU), Mike Mohring, said he was hopeful for an eventual grand coalition and expected a new government to be formed by March.

Earlier on Friday, SPD politicians said they would not be rushed into joining a new grand coalition.

At the same time, the SPD chief began naming his conditions, stressing in particular that he wants Germany to back French President Emmanuel Macron's initiative to reform the European Union.