Merkel expects tough talks as coalition negotiations approach end

Berlin - German Chancellor Angela Merkel's battle to forge a new coalition is likely to remain difficult on Sunday as she enters what could be the final round of talks between her conservatives and the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD).

Merkel said Sunday that she's entering the latest round of talks "with a certain expectation that difficult negotiation hours are approaching in today's meeting."
"We know our task and are trying to live up to it."
Both internal party meetings and discussions between the parties' leading negotiators took place on Saturday, as officials stuck to their ambition of a Sunday end to the talks.
The talks on Saturday were "good preliminary work, but there are still important topics that have to be settled."
Various party officials have warned that the talks between Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), their allied Christian Social Union (CSU) and the SPD could drag on into early next week, with some issues - such as labour law and healthcare - still unresolved.
Europe's biggest economy has been without a government since September's inconclusive elections - the longest period since modern Germany was founded in 1949.
A series of opinion polls have underlined the sense of growing frustration in the German electorate about the length of time it is taking the country's leaders to break the political deadlock and agree to a new coalition government in Berlin.
The SPD's roughly 450,000 rank-and-file members still have to vote on any coalition agreement reached by their party leaders, amid signs of scepticism among the centre-left's supporters about teaming up with the chancellor in a new alliance

Sunday, February 4th 2018

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