Germany’s Social Democrats Back Grand Coalition Talks With Merkel

Angela Merkel faces one of her toughest domestic challengers yet in the shape of Martin Schulz

BERLIN (AP) – Members of Germany’s center-left Social Democrats have agreed to open talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-leftes on whether to renew their governing coalition or at least support a minority government.

A party congress voted Thursday to support a motion put forward by party leaders that called for talks on “whether and in what form” the Social Democrats can support a new government.

The Social Democrats initially insisted they would go into opposition after a disastrous election result in September, but leaders changed course after Merkel’s talks with two smaller parties collapsed last month.

Party chairman Martin Schulz told delegates Thursday: “We don’t have to govern at any price, but we also shouldn’t want not to govern at any price.”

Schulz hopes to open talks next week.