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SPD congress clears leaders to talk coalitions with Angela Merkel

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SPD congress clears leaders to talk coalitions with Angela Merkel

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Germany's centre-left Social Democrats have swallowed their reservations about an eventual grand coalition with the centre-right, and party delegates voted at a special congress to allow coalition talks with Angela Merkel to go ahead.

Party leader Martin Schulz recognises the situation is far from ideal, but biting the bullet might be needed for the good of all.

"Yes, it's true, that we should'nt govern at any price. but it's also true that we must not not govern at any price, comrades. So if we can do something good for the German people, if we can do something good for Europe and the peoples of Europe, then, in my view, we should do this in their interest," he said.

Difficult negotiations will now begin, but the grassroots SPD membership could reject the deal their leaders broker once they get to examine the coalition contract and programme.

The fact the two sides will now talk extends a lifeline to Chancellor Angela Merkel, but if they collapse another election is the likely outcome.