With Germany’s top parties promising to keep trying to form a coalition government, the crisis within the Social Democratic party may have come to an end.Matthias Platzeck, premier of Brandenburg state in the east, says he is ready to run for chairman at a party congress later this month. He told reporters he hoped the SPD could overcome the crisis quickly to become the coalition partner envisaged by himself and Kurt Beck, the man he beat to the top party job. SPD chief Franz Muentefering announced on Monday that he would step aside after members voted down his candidate for the party’s number two job. He left open the possibility of serving in a future coalition government, but the damage may already be done. Muentefering’s resignation prompted veteran conservative Edmund Stoiber to abandon his plan to serve as economy minister. Stoiber, premier of Bavaria and head of the CSU party, says Michael Glos, a top CSU figure in parliament, will take his ministerial post. Meanwhile, chancellor-designate Angela Merkel, leader of the CDU conservatives, has admitted her task has become difficult: “I’d like to say to the public that we have to fulfil the electors’ decision, and that means that we shall have hard negotiations on our country’s problems, but I’m determined to make the way for a grand coalition possible.” Should the conservatives and the SPD fail to form a coalition, they could explore alliances with smaller parties, such as the Greens and the Free Democrats. However, fresh elections still remain a possiblity.