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German Social Democrats agree to hold Merkel coalition talks

Members of Germany's centre-left Social Democrats have agreed to open talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives on whether to renew their governing coalition or at least support a minority government.

A party congress voted on Thursday to support a motion put forward by party leaders that called for talks on "whether and in what form" the Social Democrats can support a new government.

The Social Democrats initially insisted they would go into opposition after a disastrous election result in September, but leaders changed course after Mrs Merkel's talks with two smaller parties collapsed last month.

Party chairman Martin Schulz told delegates: "We don't have to govern at any price, but we also shouldn't want not to govern at any price."

Mr Schulz hopes to open talks next week.


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