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Martin Schulz's social democrats offer Merkel a coalition lifeline

Martin Schulz's social democrats offer Merkel a coalition lifeline

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".

Chancellor Angela Merkel faced growing calls yesterday to clinch a repeat coalition deal with the Social Democrats after they dropped their initial resistance to help end Germany's political deadlock.

The chancellor was speaking on the heels of Germany's most significant political turmoil in years - the breakdown of coalition talks between the CDU, the Green party and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) last week. "The SPD is deeply convinced there should be discussions", Hubertus Heil, the party's general secretary, told reporters Friday.

He too warned against making too many concessions to the SPD, urging the CDU to stand firm on stricter migration policies and its commitment to a balanced budget.

Mrs Merkel's change of mind comes as a recent poll revealed almost two-thirds of Germans would back another general election.

The CSU is the Bavarian sister party of Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU).

Although Mr Schulz painted the move to open talks as a response to Mr Steinmeier's appeal, he was facing the possibility of a leadership challenge over his refusal to open talks with Ms Merkel.

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

Schulz had previously ruled out entering into another "grand coalition" with Merkel after his party suffered its worst ever result in the federal elections in September. 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.

"If there is no coalition agreement between the conservatives and SPD by then, the negotiations will be seen as having failed", the Junge Union said in Bild am Sonntag.


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