Social Democrats to enter talks over forming new German government
The leaders of Germany's centre-left Social Democrats have agreed to enter exploratory talks on a new government led by Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Andrea Nahles, the Social Democrats' parliamentary leader, said the party leadership decided unanimously on Friday to start talks with her conservative Christian Democratic Union bloc.
The two parties have governed Germany in a coalition for the past four years.
The Social Democrats suffered a disastrous election result in September and initially said they would go into opposition.
The party reluctantly reconsidered after Mrs Merkel's talks with two smaller parties collapsed last month.
Now, they say they will consider either a formal coalition deal or looser arrangement that allows a Merkel-led government to be formed.
Mrs Nahles said that, following initial talks, a party congress next month will decide on the next steps.