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Germany: Merkel sees long 1st round of talks on coalition

October 16, 2017

German Chancellor and chairwoman of the German Christian Democratic Party (CDU), Angela Merkel, looks on prior to a meeting at the party's headquarter in Berlin, Germany, Monday, Oct. 16, 2017 one day after the elections in the German state of Lower Saxony. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

BERLIN (AP) — Chancellor Angela Merkel says she expects exploratory talks on a new German coalition, the first step toward forming a government for Europe’s biggest economy, to take several weeks.

Germany’s Sept. 24 election left Merkel with very limited options to form a government. At present, the only realistic choice is a coalition of her conservatives, the pro-business Free Democrats and the traditionally left-leaning Greens. The combination has never been tried at national level.

The parties plan to hold initial talks this week, after a standstill caused by a state election Sunday in Lower Saxony.

The Greens will hold a party congress after the exploratory talks to decide whether to enter formal coalition negotiations. Merkel said Monday she expects the first phase to delve into “political substance” and last “several weeks.”

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