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Angela Merkel seeks grand coalition with Social Democrats

German chancellor Angela Merkel has said her conservative bloc is embarking on talks with the Social Democrats with the goal of forming a "grand coalition", despite the centre-left party saying it would also consider other options.

Mrs Merkel told reporters after meeting her Christian Democratic Union party's leadership that anything other than a grand coalition would be considered a failure of the preliminary talks.

Mrs Merkel's conservatives and the Social Democrats have governed Germany together since 2013 in a grand coalition.

The Social Democrats ruled out another after performing poorly in September's election, but reluctantly reconsidered after Mrs Merkel's talks with two smaller parties collapsed.

Still, party leader Martin Schulz has left his options open, saying exploratory talks will also consider the possibility of a looser arrangement, like possibly supporting a Merkel-led minority government.

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