No deal on the chancellorship before the weekend – that is the latest twist in the meandering talks aimed at breaking Germany’s political deadlock.Earlier speculation mounted that the impasse over who should lead a grand coalition government would be resolved by the two contenders, Gerhard Schroeder and Angela Merkel, at a dinner tonight. But the CDU leader was more cautious after meeting party colleagues. “There are issues that still need to be worked out and no final result will emerge before Sunday,” Merkel said. German press reports suggest the Social Democrats may have obtained concessions from the CDU on key policy areas such as the financing of the health system in return for agreeing that Schroeder would stand aside. He is announced a series of foreign trips which have been interpreted as his political swansong – this week he will be meeting Russian President Vladmir Putin in St Petersburg.