After a week of upheaval and uncertainty, Chancellor Angela Merkel turned to her old coalition partners in hopes of returning stability to Germany’s political scene by raising the prospect of giving the country the same government that has led since 2013. In an overture to the Social Democrats, Ms. Merkel, leader of the center-right Christian Democratic Union, moved away from her previous talk of possible new elections. Instead she welcomed the chance to accept an invitation from President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to sit down to talks, and pledged to work toward opening formal coalition negotiations as quickly as possible. “We need to create stability; the people expect that of us,” Ms. Merkel said on Monday after a meeting of her party’s leadership. “Consequently, we are ready to open talks with the Social Democrats.” She pledged that the talks would be conducted “honestly and of course with a view to their success.”
The center-left Social Democrats have been wary of leaping into another alliance with the chancellor. Their leader, Martin Schulz, had ruled out such a move, after elections on Sept. 24 yielded his party’s worst showing since 1933.
Mr. Schulz refused to commit to anything more than exploratory discussions with Ms. Merkel, scheduled for Thursday, pointing out that his party was “in a difficult situation” and that “nobody can say what the result” of the initial discussions would be.