Angela Merkel offered path to fourth term

Leader of the Social Democrats Martin Schulz leaves after talks with German President Frank Walter Steinmeier in Berlin

"The people have voted, and I absolutely do not favour, if we can't do anything with the result, asking people to vote again", Merkel said on Saturday at a party conference of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Kuehlungsborn, northeast Germany, Xinhua reported citing Focus Online.

Angela Merkel's hope of remaining chancellor received a boost as the Social Democrats performed a humiliating U-turn and agreed to talks on forming a coalition government.

Talks between Merkel's conservative bloc and two smaller parties to form a previously untried coalition collapsed a week ago.

Schulz favors pledging SPD support for a minority government, an arrangement Merkel wants to avoid.

SDP leader Martin Schulz refused to back Mrs Merkel in any deal and called for further elections in the hope of regaining seats.

"An alliance of the conservatives and SPD is the best option for Germany - better anyway than a coalition with the Free Democrats and Greens, new elections or a minority government", Horst Seehofer, head of Bavaria's CSU, sister party to Merkel's conservatives, told Bild am Sonntag.

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"We worked well together", she said, adding under the grand coalition, Germany enjoyed the strongest labor market for decades, a balanced budget and pensioners and families had benefited, she argued.

FDP leader Christian Lindner, who triggered the crisis when he pulled out of the Jamaica talks last Sunday, also said he expected to see the SPD agree to another stint in government.

Speaking in Kuehlungsborn in the northern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Merkel said Germany's politicians had a responsibility to work with the September results.

A breakthrough could come on Thursday, when President Frank-Walter Steinmeier hosts talks between Merkel, Seehofer, and Schulz.

She said she would pursue a grand coalition and an Emnid poll released yesterday showed that 52 per cent of Germans backed a grand coalition.

"The SPD will not refuse to talk".

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