Germans have got used to waiting recently and it seems that the political limbo that has already lasted three weeks will go on for a bit longer yet.
Hundreds of reporters hung around late into Sunday night outside the building in Berlin where Gerhard Schroder and Angela Merkel met to try and thrash out a deal for a government they could both live with. Merkel’s conservatives won four more seats than Schroder’s social democrats in last months elections. They have held a series of head to head meetings to try and build a coalition. Schroeder is not giving up power easily and one tantalising prospect suggested by political insiders is that he may be given the post of foreign minister. Merkel could then be installed as Chancellor. But with Merkel the less experienced politically of the two, commentators suggest she could be overshadowed on the world stage by Schroeder. And both parties have signifcantly different forign policy objectives notably on Turkey joining the EU and relations with the Untied States. There will be another meeting between them today. If they can strike a deal, that will pave the way for talks on forming a grand coalition. For now, Germans will just have to be patient.