Germany crisis: Merkel faces pressure for quick coalition talks

BBCThe people inside her own CDU party calling for her to resign are getting louder

Germany's biggest opposition party is debating whether to begin talks with Angela Merkel on a minority government or a coalition, offering a way to restore political leadership in Europe's biggest economy. However, after the FDP backed out of preliminary talks - citing ideological differences - Germany's longtime leader has been left scrambling for a solution after two months without a new government.

She appeared to walk back that statement on Saturday, however, telling her fellow CDU members that "if we can't do anything with the (election) result, we cannot ask the people to vote again".

To that end, last week Merkel commented that she would be open to new elections instead of creating a minority government.

The climbdown by Martin Schulz, the Social Democrat (SPD) leader, means that Mrs Merkel could avoid another election after the indecisive result in September.

Germany's Social Democrats (SPD) decided Friday to help resolve a deadlock in talks to form a coalition government, dropping its earlier refusal to consider governing with Merkel's conservatives. Two of Merkel's three terms to date have been in such a coalition.

Merkel is facing the most serious political crisis since she assumed office 12 years ago after the breakdown of the government coalition exploratory talks on November 19.

An Emnid survey for the Bild newspaper yesterday showed that 52% of Germans were in favour of a repeat grand coalition.

"We worked well together", she said, adding under the grand coalition, Germany enjoyed the strongest labor market for decades, a balanced budget and pensioners and families had benefited, she argued.

Leading Greens lawmaker Claudia Roth told Deutschlandfunk radio that she doubted whether another GroKo was the best outcome, given its "anaesthetising" effect on the country last time.

A breakthrough could come on Thursday, when President Frank-Walter Steinmeier hosts talks between Merkel, Seehofer, and Schulz.

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