Germany's SPD's Schulz Says He Hasn't Given Green Light for Coalition

Germany's SPD No decision on entering coalition talks

Merkel's expressed skepticism about the latter two possibilities, and following an appeal from President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Schulz agreed to meet with the chancellor and CSU leader Horst Seehofer on Thursday night to talk about the various possibilities.

Although Merkel's bloc is still the biggest group in the parliament, it needs the support of either the SPD, which is the second largest group in Bundestag, or two smaller parties to form a government.

"The decisive question is what do we want to implement, what can we implement - for example in the renewal of the European Union", Schulz said.

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".

Schulz told reporters Friday that they'd agreed to keep their discussions confidential, but that he was now prepared to discuss with his party's leadership on Monday all options, including re-forming a grand coalition.

But it came under pressure to relent and head off fresh elections after Merkel's bid to form a coalition with the ecologist Greens and pro-business FDP fell apart last month.

"A positive answer to (the reform proposals of French President) Emmanuel Macron will be a core element of any negotiation with the SPD", the SPD leader said. Schulz fronts a party which is split evenly down the middle on what he should do next.

"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". But for the SPD the situation isn't almost as clear.

Other possible options for the SPD include backing a minority government led by Merkel, and Schulz himself had sent a tweet saying that "it is possible that the country ends up with a constellation that it has never seen in its (post-war) history".

While SPD leadership was willing to enter non-binding, preliminary negotiations concerning the formation of a new German government, the party first wanted to secure approval for this step from its membership base.

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