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Schulz ready for tense talks with Merkel

Schulz ready for tense talks with Merkel

GERMAN Social Democratic Party leader Martin Schulz said yesterday that his party is considering backtracking on its pledge not to enter another "grand coalition" with Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats, with internal discussions due to be held next week.

Speaking at a news conference after a key party executive meeting in Berlin, Martin Schulz sharply criticized Christian Democrats for leaking information to the media, after a crisis summit hosted by President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Thursday.

"It doesn't automatically mean a grand coalition, we have time and we will also discuss other possible options during the SPD party congress", said Schulz.

Schulz insisted his party would continue to talk about all options, which could include tolerating a Merkel minority government, possibly in tandem with the Green party.

After his party's disastrous result in the September 24 election Schultz had ruled out forming another so-called grand coalition with Merkel's Christian Democratic Union and Bavarian-only sister party, the Christian Social Union, like the one that has governed Germany for the last four years.

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He said whoever circulated such reports was damaging trust.

"The majority (of the SPD) is against a new grand coalition", she told the General-Anzeiger and Rhein-Zeitung newspapers in an interview to be published Saturday. "We have many options". "That's exactly what I will propose to the party leadership on Monday", Schulz said.

Although Merkel's bloc is still the biggest group in the parliament, it needs the support of either the SPD, which is the second largest group in Bundestag, or two smaller parties to form a government. By contrast, Steinmeier - himself a former SPD leader - is known to favor the grand coalition option.

After the party convention of the SPD in the coming week, the CDU will discuss the way forward, according to Klaus Schueler, federal manager of the CDU.

"Giving Emmanuel Macron a positive answer will be a key element in every negotiation with the SPD", Schulz was quoted as saying in the interview made available on Friday, adding that he also backed a joint European Union tax policy.