German Chancellor Angela Merkel, weakened by an election setback in September, launches a second bid to build a coalition government on Sunday when she sits down with the Social Democrats (SPD) for exploratory talks. A re-run of her ‘grand coalition’ with the SPD, in power from 2013 to 2017, appears the best option for conservative Merkel is as it would provide stability in what would be her fourth term. But with success far from guaranteed, there are a range of other possible scenarios. After her conservatives bled support to the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) in the Sept. 24 national election, Merkel saw her authority undermined two months later by the collapse of three-way coalition talks with the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) and Greens.
That shifted her focus back to the SPD, but the center-left party is wary of another tie-up with Merkel after voters punished it for four years of power-sharing in the September vote, when its support slumped to its lowest level since 1933.
The consensus among politicians and commentators is that the talks will last at least until March.
Full Article: Second time lucky? Merkel starts over with coalition talks.