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Merkel's party holds secret talks with the SPD

Angela Merkel pins her hopes of a fourth term as chancellor on the SPD as talks begin to try to form a government

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Merkel's party holds secret talks with the SPD

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Angela Merkel's conservatives (CSU) and Germany's Social Democrats have held their first tentative talks on renewing their coalition, nearly three months after the country's general election.

It follows the collapse of talks with other parties in November.

Sensing Merkel's lack of options SPD leader Martin Schulz is in a strong position. He's pushing for a cooperation coalition or "KoKo" agreement which is unpopular with Merkel's conservatives.

Under a "KoKo" (cooperation coalition) agreement the SPD would agree to work with Merkel in some areas, such as the budget and European and foreign affairs, but force her to seek ad-hoc majorities for other policies.

Conservatives such as Alexander Dobrindt who is chairman of the CSU National Committee is adamant that it is not a good idea as that way lies uncertainty:

"A "Co-Co" is an absolute No-Go. I have no interest to talk with the SPD about such an arrangement. What matters is the prospects for our country."

Secrecy has surrounded the talks reflecting the sour mood between the two sides.

The SPD had vowed to go into opposition following its bashing in the September vote. Now it might be Merkels last chance for a fourth term as chancellor and to avoid new elections.