No grand coalition talks in Germany until 2018, says deputy CDU chief

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Talks on forming a new grand coalition between Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) are unlikely to begin before the New Year, the deputy head of her party said on Monday.

Julia Kloeckner, the deputy head of Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), told newsmen that talks to form a government would not start in earnest until after the winter break and that it was important to focus on “thoroughness.”

The SPD only recently reversed its decision to enter the opposition after suffering its worst-ever election result in September.

SPD leader Martin Schulz said that he was open to talks after all, when negotiations between Merkel’s conservatives and two smaller parties collapsed 10 days ago.

Kloeckner said that the U-turn would have to be discussed at the SPD’s party conference in two weeks, which would mean that coalition talks could not begin until the New Year.

Also, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was due to meet with Green party leaders, Katrin Goering-Eckardt und Anton Hofreiter.

He would as well meet the heads of the Left Party, Sahra Wagenknecht, and Dietmar Bartsch, in order to pave way for new talks.

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