Merkel and Greens agree to second round of exploratory talks
BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and the Greens party agreed on Thursday to hold another round of talks next week to explore the chances of forming the first national coalition government between the longtime political enemies, party sources told Reuters.
Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), emerged as the dominant political force in a September 22 election but need a coalition partner to rule.
The CDU/CSU first held exploratory talks with the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) and are due to meet SPD leaders for a second round of discussions on Monday. Most experts expect Merkel to end up in a "grand coalition" with the SPD.
But the Greens also appear to be an option for Merkel, despite policy differences and verbal clashes in the run-up to the Thursday meeting between leaders of the arch-conservative CSU and the Greens, a party with roots in the peace and anti-nuclear movements of the 1970s.
Some CDU and Greens leaders believe this is a historic opening for both parties. The CDU/CSU's traditional ally, the Free Democrats (FDP), crashed out of parliament in the election, and the Greens and SPD did not win enough support to form a center-left government.
(Reporting by Andreas Rinke; writing by Erik Kirschbaum; editing by Noah Barkin and Michelle Martin)
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