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German centre-left party ponders new Merkel coalition

Supporters and opponents of a new alliance with Chancellor Angela Merkel are making their case to members of Germany's main centre-left party, who will decide this weekend whether to negotiate a new governing coalition.

Mrs Merkel's Union bloc and leaders of the centre-left Social Democrats last week reached a preliminary deal to open formal coalition negotiations.

That agreement now needs approval from a party congress on Sunday of the Social Democrats, many of whose members are sceptical of any deal after a disastrous election result in September.

Over the weekend, a small regional branch of the party came out against a new coalition, and some prominent party members picked holes in last week's agreement.

The Social Democrats' parliamentary leader, Andrea Nahles, told Deutschlandfunk radio that she is optimistic about winning over a majority of members.

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From Belfast Telegraph