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SPD votes to enter coalition talks

Germany's main centre-left party says it is prepared to hold preliminary talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives to explore the possibility of a "grand coalition" after both parties failed to gain an absolute majority in Sunday's election.

Social Democratic Party chairman Sigmar Gabriel said a majority of delegates had backed the move at a meeting on Friday.

The announcement came as the man who had led the party into the election, Peer Steinbrueck, said he planned to step back from front-row posts in the party and in Parliament, according to the German news agency dpa.

An ARD television poll of 1,000 people conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday found most voters want Merkel's Union bloc to enter into a grand coalition with the Social Democrats.


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